Monday, January 13, 2014
A Victorian silver cup which was presented to a Sandringham estate manager who led Norfolk soldiers into the ill-fated First World War Gallipoli campaign is expected to fetch more than £500 at auction later this month.
Captain Frank Beck was widely thought to be too old when he led a company of men during the bloody Dardanelles invasion in August 1915 at the age of 53. The reigning monarch, King George V, had told him not to go.
However Captain Beck, who served as land agent at Sandringham between 1891 and 1914, during the reigns of Queen Victoria, King Edward VII and King George V, went missing alongside many others from the 4th and 5th Battalions of the Norfolk Regiment on August 15.
A concerned Queen Alexandra – widow of King Edward VII – personally intervened to find out what had happened to the men, many of whom were her employees.
A legend sprang up that they had disappeared in a massive cloud of unknown origin – supposedly supernatural.
However, after the Armistice 180 bodies were found scattered over an area of about 1 square mile, which was about 800yds behind the Turkish front line.
It was later suggested that Captain Beck and his men had been captured by Ottoman troops and executed, although this was never confirmed.
Captain Beck, who was born in Oxwick, educated in North Elmham and was instrumental in setting up the Sandringham Company of Volunteers in 1906, was later portrayed by the actor David Jason in BBC film All the King’s Men, which tells the story of the Sandringham company’s involvement in the invasion.
The silver cup, which is engraved: “1895 English Seed Barley, R.Liebmann’s Prize to Frank Beck Sandringham Norfolk” is being auctioned at Bonhams in London on January 29.
It is expected to sell for between £500 and £600.
Are you organising an event in West Norfolk to mark this year’s centenary of the First World War? Contact reporter Andrew Papworth on 01553 778681 or email email@example.com