Cup owned by Captain Frank Beck, of the First World War Sandringham Company, is sold at auction
11:22 03 February 2014
A Victorian silver cup, presented to a Sandringham estate manager who died in mysterious circumstances during the First World War, has been sold at auction.
The cup belonged to Norfolk-born and educated Captain Frank Beck, who was land agent at Sandringham from 1891 until 1914, during the final years of Queen Victoria’s reign, throughout King Edward VII’s reign and in the early years of King George V’s reign.
The trophy is engraved: “1895 English Seed Barley, R.Liebmann’s Prize to Frank Beck Sandringham Norfolk.”
It was bought by a mystery bidder for £750 at Bonhams in London.
Captain Beck was born at Oxwick, in Norfolk, on May 3, 1861 and educated at the Norfolk County School in North Elmham.
In 1906 he was instrumental in the formation of the Sandringham Company of Volunteers (‘E’ Company, 5th Battalion, Norfolk Regiment, Territorial Force) which included grooms, gardeners, farm labourers and household staff from King George V’s estates. Despite his age – he was 53 at the time – and despite the fact that King George V told him not to go, Capt Beck volunteered for foreign service when the First World War started in 1914.
He served with the Mediterranean Expedition-ary Force at the Battle of Gallipoli in Turkey, leading his company during an attack there on August 12, 1915, fighting alongside his nephews, Arthur Evelyn Beck and Albert Edward Alexander Beck.
It was on that day that a large part of the Norfolks, including Beck and many of the Sandringham Company, went missing in action.
A concerned Queen Alexandra, King Edward VII’s widow, personally intervened to find out what had happened to the men, many of whom were her employees.
After the Armistice, 180 bodies were found scattered behind the Turkish front line. It was later claimed that Beck and his men had been captured and then executed.