IN MEMORIAM Col. Harry Beckhough born 08-Feb-1914 Died 15-Mar-2015 Aged 101


Posted by:
Greg Lance – Watkins



I was very honoured to have been able to count Harry Beckhough as a friend for a number of his later years, and even more honoured when he proclaimed me as a trusted frien before an audience in Marlborough Town Hall.

Harry very kindly, some years ago, agreed to attend a political meeting for two days for me at The Huntsman near Chepstow – too impart a prodigious flow of his experience and political knowledge and reminiscences. Harry’s contribution was invaluable.

After his visit to Chepstow we kept in touch for some years and I well remember that when he realised I was genuinly interested in social and political history he wrote me some 30 or 40 pages of his reminiscenses and experiences from his early years until he left Bristol, just prior to WWII.

Final farewell in Marlborough to wartime code breaker Harry Beckhough, 101

Anna Mauremootoo, Senior reporter for Marlborough and Pewsey / Saturday 11 April 2015 / 

Mourners gathered at St Mary’s Church in Marlborough this afternoon to say goodbye to centenarian and wartime code breaker Harry Beckhough.

Around 100 people gathered at the church for the service in tribute to the 101-year-old led by the Rev Dr David Maurice.

Mr Beckhough’s son-in-law James Munby read from Ecclesiates followed by a reading of Psalm 29 by his daughter, Jennifer Munby.

She then read a poem Not How Did He Die, But How Did He Live followed by a tribute from Mr Beckhough’s grandson, Thomas Munby.

He said: “When you’re asked to speak about someone like my grandfather where do you start?

“I tried to start by thinking what Harry would say, trouble is, I know exactly what Harry would say. He’d wander in, look around, smile at us all, he’d pull his innocent face and say ‘oh, has somebody died’?

“In my mind Harry Beckhough was an astonishing man. I loved him, I miss him and I’m very proud to call him my grandfather.”

Marlborough Mayor Marian-Hannaford Dobson spoke of Mr Beckhough’s 19 years in the town, moving in 1996 to be near his family. Mr Beckhough is thought to be the longest serving member of the Conservative party, joining it at the age of 15, and he continued his interest in the party all his life.

She said: “Harry used his desk in the Constituency office five days a week for the rest of his life.

“He regularly lectured at the Marlborough College summer school and also volunteered at Savernake Hospital once a week. Another of his pleasures was to work on the Marlborough Jubilee committee and centre.

“I count myself fortunate, and privileged, to have had Harry Beckhough as my friend.”

Mr Beckhough chose hymns Abide With Me; I Vow to Thee My Country; and He who would Valiant Be to be sung at the service.

Claire Perry, who up until the dissolution of parliament was the Conservative MP for the Devizes constituency that includes Marlborough, also paid tribute to Mr Beckhough. She said: “He was an amazing representative of all that my party stand for.

“He was so capable of seeing the big picture but also of seeing the small details.

“He was always there for a chat, he was always there for a counsel. I spoke to him just a few weeks ago and he said ‘I’m not doing so well but best of luck in the election, I’m proud of country and I’m proud of our government’.”

Mr Beckhough, who lived in Castle Court retirement apartments in River Park, died on March 15.

He grew up in Bristol attending Fairfield Grammar school and studying at Bristol University.

He was a Colonel in the Intelligence Corps and a code breaker at Bletchley Park during the Second World War.
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He celebrated his 101st birthday twice, first on February 8, the day he was born, and on February 15, which is on his birth certificate because his father didn’t register him until a week after his birth.

After the service mourners went to a celebration of Mr Beckhough’s life at the ConservativeClub.


Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins
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