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Will it snow this winter?

During the year I have received several messages through this blog, all have been interesting. Thank you. Several messages were interested in Dorset Police and these contacts I have passed on to Ian who hopes to be bringing you a history of the Dorset Police force and the Policemen who walked our streets, in 2018. Other messages were members of the Beck or House family, I have loved meeting you on line and hopefully in person in 2018. Wishing all my readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year Sylvia Photo of May taken at Blandford Police Station most likely during WW1

RIP Mrs Percy

Rebecca Beck holding a small posy of flowers wearing a large brimmed hat with flowers
Rebecca Beck Date unknown but thought to be pre WW1

Bridport News March 2nd 1928
Beck -  March 1, at Peel House, St Andrew's Road, Bridport, Rebecca Beck, wife of Supt. A. P. Beck, aged 66

The Bridport News also wrote a piece entitled SUPT. BECK'S BEREAVEMENT  The deceased lady, … possessed a gentle and kindly disposition what endeared her to all with whom she came in contact.  Throughout a long illness, borne with patience and fortitude, she was devotedly attended by her husband, while Dr. J.H. Armistead, her medical attendant, was unsparing in his efforts. The interment will take place at Blandford to-morrow (Saturday). The deepest sympathy is extended to Supt. Beck in the heavy bereavement that has befallen him.

 Rebecca Beck (nee Illes)

My great grandparents had married 35 years before at Buckland Newton Church in Dorset. Grandad Beck was a 21 year old police constable and his bride a 35 year old former dairymaid.  Throughout their marriage Rebecca had supported her husband's career and, if family legend is correct, encouraged  her husband to climb the promotional ladder.

Together they had experience great sadness when their only son, Lionel, died from TB at Blandford where Grandad Beck had been Superintendent during the first world war. More recently they had great pleasure in the marriage of  their only daughter, May and the subsequent birth of their  first grandson, Osborne. I hope Rebecca was aware of the birth of their first granddaughter, Marion, who was born the day before her death. Which must have been both a joy and sadness for the family, the two events being so close together.

The death certificate tells us Rebecca suffered from Muscular Sclerosis, this is a lifelong condition and is not fatal. It is therefore likely that she had been unwell for a considerable time.  As one of the family members listed at her funeral was Miss Lily Gale (companion),  I assume that in the later period she had been quite ill.  Companion could mean many things, just a friend, nurse, housekeeper or mixture of these things.  It  is not known if Lily lived in or out.

The funeral

The funeral was arranged for the Saturday 3rd March at Blandford. I am sure that the interment was at Blandford by Rebecca's request as she wanted to be laid to rest near her son in Blandford Church yard.   The main floral tribute was from the family consisted of a large cross with arum lilies and hyacinths laid on the coffin.

Cross of white arum lilies and hyacinths in the shape of a cross
Cross of white arum lilies and hyacinths from the family Taken at Peel House, Bridport


Due to the birth of her daughter, May was unable to support her father at the funeral, but her husband Fred House attended. Other family members included Mrs Sarah Richings, Rebecca's sister and her father-in-law Eli Beck.  One other family member was listed Mrs Gillingham (aunt) in the Bridport News, I don't know who this lady was, as I haven't found any Gillingham's in the family - yet.  Other family and friends were not listed by the newspaper.

The Bridport News tells us about the many policemen that attended the funeral, including Deputy-Chief Constable Mr A Barrett, 5 Superintendents, 2 Inspectors, 4 Sergeants and 12 constables from all around Dorset. Including four from Bridport Division who officiated as bearers.  I think the number attending and the floral tributes from individual policemen suggests that not just Grandad Beck but his wife were held in high esteem within the constabulary.  As Policemen moved stations within Dorset regularly, Rebecca would have known many of them, especially the ones that lived in the same stations as the Beck family.

Grave with floral tributes in church yard
 The grave of Rebecca Beck taken after the funeral 3rd March 1928
The cross marks the grave of her son Lionel Howard Beck(1899–1918)

The Bridport News does give a list of the floral tributes, sent by family and friends from Bridport, Beaminster, Blandford and elsewhere.  A few of these, I thought worth, mentioning are:
In memory of a Beautiful life, Dr and Mrs Armistead;
A token of remembrance of one of the dearest and best, from Lily;
In loving Memory of our dear Mrs Percy.  
Percy was the family name for Grandad Beck, who  was in court on the following Tuesday when The Mayor  Mr A. R. Travers and Mr J. Roper expressed on their deepest sympathy on behalf of the Bench and solicitors present.


Family group, May and Fred House standing behind the siting Rebecca with baby Osborne sitting on the lawn

 May and Fred House with Rebecca and Osborne. Taken outside Wytherston Farm House 1927
Possibly the last photograph of Rebecca

All original content by Sylvia Collins is copyright protected.

Bridport News: March 2nd 1928 p8; March 9th p5


  1. […] From the large number of photographs of Osborne I think we can be sure that he had two very proud grandparents.  Rebecca wasn’t to met May’s other two children and was likely to have been unwell at this time.  I wrote about her death two years after Osborne’s birth here. […]


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