b. 24/01/1824 Dundee, Scotland. d. 24/08/1864 Dundee, Scotland.
Thomas Beach (1824-1864) was born on 24th January 1824 in Dundee, Scotland. He enlisted with the 92nd Regiment of Foot (Gordon Highlanders) from a young age, but soon transferred to the 55th Regiment of Foot (Westmoreland) and in 1851 was posted with the 55th to Gibraltar. He served in Gibraltar with the 55th from 1851 until embarking for the Crimea in May 1854.
On 5th November 1854, at the Battle of Inkerman, Private Beach distinguished himself when he came to the aid of Lieutenant Colonel Carpenter, who was being set upon by five Russians, all attempting to stab him with their bayonets. Beach immediately attacked the Russians, killing two of them, and holding off the other three, until men from the 41st Regiment of Foot arrived to support.
Beach was awarded the Victoria Cross for these actions, and was amongst the first announced in the London Gazette on 24th February 1857. Following the Crimean War, Beach returned to the 92nd Regiment of Foot (Gordon Highlanders) and was serving in Gibraltar, when he was presented with his VC in July 1857 by Lieutenant General Sir J. Fergusson.
Beach left the Army in 1863 and returned to his native Dundee. Sadly, Beach fell on hard times like a lot of ex-servicemen at the times, and sadly died less than a year after leaving the Army on 24th August 1864, aged just 40 in the Royal Infirmary, Dundee. It is believed that his cause of death was severe alcoholism. Beach was buried in an unmarked grave in the Eastern Necropolis. In 2003, a commemorative bench was installed at the cemetery in memory of Private Thomas Beach. His medals were sold in the 1920s to the Maharaja of Patiala, Bhupendra Singh.
LOCATION OF MEDAL:SHEESH MAHAL MUSEUM, PATIALA, INDIA.
EASTERN NECROPOLIS CEMETERY, DUNDEE, SCOTLAND. SECTION H, GRAVE 857
Memorial bench to Thomas Beach VC in the Eastern Necropolis, Dundee.