Penrith Sutton Beauchamp was born in Colwall, Herefordshire in early 1893, the fifth of the seven children born to Frederick William Beauchamp and his wife Minnie Blanche (née Dixon); he was christened at St James “the Great” Church on 24th February 1893. Penrith’s father died when the boy was only four years old. The Beauchamps were a middle-class family.
While his brothers Forrest and Arthur emigrated to Canada and British Guiana respectively, Penrith remained behind in The Cottage, Colwall with his mother and younger sisters.
Upon the outbreak of war, Penrith joined the 9th Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment, reaching the rank of second-lieutenant. Like Penrith, the majority of the original personnel of the 9th Battalion had been raised in Worcestershire, though many enlisted in the nearby city of Birmingham.
In June 1915 the difficulties in the Gallipoli peninsula resulted in the British Higher Command requiring reinforcements to be sent if the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force was to win through to its goal: Constantinople. Accordingly, five fresh Divisions were sent out as reinforcements from England to Gallipoli, one of them being the 13th Division, which included the 9th Battalion of the Regiment. This would have included Penrith Beauchamp himself.
In December 1916 Penrith and his Battalion were sent to Mesopotamia, where the Worcestershire Regiment was once again engaged in fighting against the Ottoman army. Facing disease, the lack of water and extreme weather conditions, fighting in that part of the world became particularly brutal.
Less than two months after arriving in Mesopotamia, 24 year-old Penrith Beauchamp was killed on 25th January 1917 during the disastrous Battle of Kut al Amara. His remains were interred in the Amara War Cemetery, on the left bank on the Tigris river. Following the surrender of the garrison on 29 April 1916, the survivors of the siege were marched to imprisonment at Aleppo, in modern-day Syria.
Penrith’s brother Forrest, who also saw active service during WWI, was killed in action in France a year later 1918.
Penrith Beauchamp never married, and had no known children, but his elder brother Arthur gave the name Penrith to one of his own sons, Kenneth Henry Penrith Beauchamp. This second Penrith Beauchamp also distinguished himself in another world war, having joined the RAF in 1938 and being awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (1940), Distinguished Service Order (1942) and Bar to Distinguished Service Order (1945), for the action he saw in Germany.