Derbyshire hero who fought in two world wars and the Russian civil war

Derbyshire war heroes

In the last of his series on Derbyshire warriors who gained VCs in World War One, Barry M Marsden details the remarkable bravery of William Beesley and Charles Hudson.

WILLIAM BEESLEY served in the same regiment as William Gregg, and won his VC in the same engagement, a unique experience for two of the county’s sons. William was born in Gresley in October 1895, and worked as a miner. He enlisted in 1914, and after initial service in the 9th Kings Royal Rifle Corps he transferred to the 13th Battalion the Rifles, seeing action on the Somme, being twice wounded by shrapnel and carrying the scars for the rest of his life. On May 8, 1918, at Bucquoy, two days after Gregg’s heroics, two companies were tasked with attacking enemy frontline positions. No artillery support was organised, and the troops suffered heavy casualties during the assault…