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Ann Cole and George Beecher


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Ann Cole was one of three girls. Little is known other than she married George Beecher and had two sons, George and Richard and that she died shortly after giving birth to the second son, Richard (Dick).

It is believed that Ann, with her sisters Jane and Ada came from a wealthy family connected with the Thames. The Corys were possibly river boat or barge owners which may have been the predecessor of the “Cory Distribution Company” (London). It is believed that that both Ann and Ada had fallen out of favour with the family by marrying below their social level!

The following information was related by Will Townsend in a letter dated 1st March 1985...

George and Dick Beecher.

George and Dick‘s mother Ann died when they were very young. They were then looked after by sister Ada until their father removed them from her care and put them in a ‘Home’. He died soon afterwards.

At 14 George was sent to work in the coal mines, (don’t know where), but hated it and ran off and stowed away on a cargo ship. He hid below decks until the ship was well out to sea then emerged on deck to be spotted by one of the crew and taken before the skipper. He was informed that if he did as he was told he would not turn him over to ‘The Authorities’. He must have spent some time at sea on various ships and during this time found out that his younger brother Dick had emigrated to Canada, located his address, and corresponded with him.

George eventually went ashore from a ship in Canada in 1914 only to find that at the outbreak of the First World War Dick had joined the Canadian Army.

George promptly decided that he too would join the Canadian Army and the two brothers both served, and amazingly, survived in France throughout the whole war, including the Second Battle of Ypres. Following his discharge in 1918 George went back to sea. He died later.

Dick returned to Canada where he worked in the forests as a lumberjack, then in gold mines before working on boats on the Great Lakes. He eventually settled in the U.S. I believe at or near Detroit, Michigan where he died sometime, I think, in the 1950s.

Dick returned for a brief visit to London in 1921 when he called to see Ada. At first she didn’t know who he was as his father had removed him from her care whilst still a baby. She was delighted to see him but after this visit they never met again.

It is not known if either George or Dick left families.

I have a recollection of my Mum, Vi, corresponding with Dick, living at the time in Michigan U.S.A. This would have been in the 1950s. A search of Canadian army records on the internet reveals the following…

George Beecher Regimental No 48722 Ref. RG150 Box 585-42.
Richard Beecher Regimental No 2626908 Ref. RG150 Box 585-46.

Information and letter provided by Trevor Green.