[T]he Lord Lieutenant of Cumbria, Mrs Claire Hensman will unveil a commemorative stone on Thursday 9 August 2018 in memory of Glassonby born Private Robert Beatham who was awarded the Victoria Cross (VC) for his actions in France during World War One.
Exactly 100 years to the day of the award, in a special ceremony starting at 10.30am, the stone will be unveiled in Castle Park, Penrith near to the Memorial Gateway.
Those attending the ceremony also include family members of Robert Beatham who are coming to Penrith from all over the country; Lt. Col Lachlan Sinclair representing Australian Defence Staff from the Australian High Commission; Eden District Council Chairperson, Councillor Mary Robinson and the Rev’d Keith Speck from Kirkoswald and Alston Moor Methodist Circuit who will bless the stone.
A memorial service led by Rev’d. Canon David Sargent will follow at St. Andrew’s Church, Penrith at 11.15am.
Members of the local community are welcome to be part of this historic ceremony by attending the stone unveiling at Castle Park and the memorial service at St. Andrew’s Church.
Councillor Malcolm Temple, Eden District Council’s Armed Forces Champion who has been involved in organising the event, said: “Eden District Council is honoured to be hosting this event as part of our commitment to the Armed Forces Community Covenant. The Victoria Cross is the highest award for gallantry that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. It’s important that we recognise and remember the actions of Private Robert Beatham and bring this aspect of our history to a wider audience so that more people are able to learn about the community’s shared history.”
Robert Beatham was born in Glassonby but emigrated to Australia as a young man and served with the 8th Battalion of the Australian Imperial Force. He saw active service in the Gallipoli campaign, the Somme campaign, in the Battle of Passchendaele and on the Western Front. He was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions in the Battle of Amiens in France on 9 August 1918.
The citation for Private Robert Beatham’s VC Award reads as follows:
For most conspicuous bravery and self- sacrifice during the attack north of Rosieres, east of Amiens, on 9th August 1918, When the advance was held up by heavy machine- gun fire, Pte. Beatham dashed forward, and, assisted by one man, bombed and fought the crews of four enemy machine guns, killing ten of them and capturing ten others, thus facilitating the advance and saving many casualties. When the final objective was reached, although previously wounded, he again dashed forward and bombed a machine gun, being riddled with bullets and killed in doing so. The valour displayed by this gallant soldier inspired all ranks in a wonderful manner.