William Robert Clive Beasley
William Robert Clive Beasley was born in Lucknow in 1894 to Edwin Ernest Beasley and his wife Letitia Catherine (nee Kersley). He was the second son and one of seven children born to the couple. William’s uncle was William Edwin Agland, who would become mayor of East Orange in 1910.
William was one of the first men to enlist in WWI, doing so in Sydney on 20 August 1914, barely a week after voluntary recruitment commenced. He embarked from Sydney in October 1914 and proceeded to Mena training camp in Egypt. Private Beasley joined the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force at Alexandria 5 April 1915 and was part of the first contingent of troops to land at Gallipoli on 25 April.
William’s battalion advanced about 2km inland to a position near Courtney’s Post. When roll call was held on Thursday 29 April Beasley was not present and no one had seen him. A court of enquiry held on 24 March 1916 found that Private Beasley had been killed in action near Courtney’s Post, Gallipoli, on 2 May 1915, just one week before his 21st birthday.
Private Beasley has no known grave; he is commemorated on Panel 17 of the Lone Pine Memorial at Gallipoli in Turkey with others who have no known grave.
William is also commemorated on his parent’s grave in Orange Cemetery. His name appears on a plaque in Newman Park in Orange commemorating former Orange East Public School students who were killed in action. He is also commemorated on the honour rolls of Orange East Public School, Shadforth Public School and Holy Trinity Church Orange.
On 25 April 1917 the second ever Anzac Day service in Orange was held at the Orange Public School. Mayoress McNeilly placed a laurel wreath on the Union Jack for each fallen soldier who had attended the school, including William Beasley.
In July 1917 a tree was planted at Orange Public School in William’s memory. It was one of 26 trees planted in honour of fallen soldiers who had attended the school.
William’s name appears on the World War I Roll of Honour on the southern face of the Orange Cenotaph.
In 1923 the Anzac Memorial Avenue of trees was planted along Bathurst Road to commemorate fallen WWI soldiers. A tree was planted in honour of “Pte WRC Beasley”; it was donated by the East Orange Public School. Very few of the trees are still standing today.
On Anzac Day 2015 members of William’s family laid a wreath in his honour at the dawn service in Orange.
William’s brother, Clifton Ernest Havelock Beasley, also served in WWI; he returned to Australia in July 1919. A cousin, William Edwin Wells, was killed in action on 4 October 1917.
Leader, 24 May 1916, p. 6.
Two more brave Orange soldiers