PRIVATE GEORGE EDWARD BEAVIS
21ST SEPTEMBER 1917 AGE 20
BURIED: THE HUTS CEMETERY, YPRES, BELGIUM
George Beavis' inscription comes from a popular Irish song written some time around the end of the nineteenth century. The words of the song originally referred to a sailor:
"I once stood in a harbour, as a ship was going out,
On a voyage unto a port beyond the sea.
I watched the blue-clad sailor, as he bade his last farewell
To the lassie who he loved most tenderly.
I heard the sailor promise to the lassie now in tears,
"When the fields are white with daisies I'll return."
During the war, Bamforth produced one of their three-card picture postcard series featuring this song. The card with the first verse shows a sailor but the card with the words of the chorus shows a khaki-clad soldier.
What is a bit strange about this inscription is that it was chosen by his mother, Mrs Sarah Jane Beavis, not by a wife or sweetheart. However, it must be for the words of the second verse that she chose it. The sweetheart learns that the ship has sunk and as she stands there weeping she hears a voice reassuring her that they will meet again:
"God has spared me for your keeping, and the promise once I made,
When the fields are white with daisies I'll return."
George Beavis died of wounds in a casualty clearing station in Dickebusch. According to a letter from the Officer in Charge of the 1st Field Ambulance, written on 1 February 1918 to the Australian Red Cross Society Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau:
" ... he was admitted to the Dressing Station of this Ambulance on the night of 20.9.17 with shell wound of right leg, the wounds being so extensive as to necessitate amputation of the leg. He was suffering a good deal from shock, and died next morning. The burial took place at Military Huts Cemetery Dickebusch."