Monday, 30 January 2012

News - Community pride in military hero (Bingham)

Around 100 people heard of the pride that a community had for a soldier who earned Britain’s highest military honour for his refusal to leave a wounded colleague.
Veterans were among those in Bingham Parish Church on Sunday to pay tribute to Harry Churchill Beet as a plaque was unveiled to mark his heroism in the Boer War.

On April 22, 1900, while at a farm outside Wakkerstoom, in the Natal Province of South Africa, Corporal Beet came across a wounded corporal from the Imperial yeomanry and, refusing to leave him behind, stayed to protect him.

He dragged him to cover, bandaged his wounds, and continued to fire throughout the afternoon to stop the Boers from overrunning them.

After darkness fell, a medical officer, Doctor Wilson, reached them and between them they dragged Corporal Basil Burnett to safety.

Corporal Beet was awarded the Victoria Cross by the Duke of York in 1901 and was promoted to sergeant.

The Mayor of Bingham, Mrs Maureen Stockwood, said: “This is a memorable day for Bingham.”

Mr Tony Higton, chairman of the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Victoria Cross Committee, read a transcript of a letter that Corporal Burnett later wrote to Corporal Beet, in which he said he could not remember if he thanked him at the time but he would certainly like to do so.
The Bishop of Sherwood, the Rt Rev Tony Porter, said it was a honour to pay tribute to Harry and all of those who had paid the ultimate sacrifice.

He said he was not sure that younger generations understood the sacrifice made so others could enjoy the freedom they had and urged a “responsibility to strain every sinew to live in peace.”

The oak plaque was unveiled and the Bishop gave the Act of Dedication. Helen Sutton played The Last Post, two minutes’ silence was observed, and she played Reveille.

After the war, Corporal Beet emigrated to Canada with his wife, Mrs Annie Beet. He died in 1946, aged 70, and is buried at Mountain View Cemetery, Vancouver.

His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Sherwood Foresters Museum, Nottingham Castle.


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