The history of the Besfords

Charles Herbert Besford

Born on 3rd December 1898 at South Shields. His parents were William Besford and Ella E. Besford (née Stokes). The 1901 Census recorded Charles Herbert Besford aged 2 and living at 5 Second Avenue, Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne, with his parents.

Charles was working as a butcher’s boy when the First World War broke out.

He joined the Royal Navy and served as a ship’s boy (akin to an apprentice). He was a member of the crew of HMS Monarch at the Battle of Jutland (31 May-1 June 1916). 14 British and 11 German ships were sunk, with a total of 9,823 casualties. Charles Herbert Besford survived the battle and went on to serve on various other ships during the war.

HMS Monarch
HMS Monarch, image from the George Grantham Bain collection at the Library of Congress

In late 1916 he signed up for 12 years naval service. His service record notes that he was 5ft and half an inch tall, with dark hair, a dark complexion, and brown eyes. His character and ability were described as “very good”. He was promoted twice, first to Ordinary Seaman and then to Able Seaman. He remained a member of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserves when he returned to civilian life in 1928.

Charles Herbert Besford’s grandfather was John Besford who was born at Stannington Bridge and baptised at Stannington on 17th September 1820. John’s parents (and hence Charles Herbert’s great-grandparents) were John Besford and Isabella Besford (née Wright). John was the brother of Robert Besford (1792-1844).

Charles Herbert Besford was thus the great-great grandson of Robert Besford (1752-1837) and his known ancestry then goes back to the marriage of James Besford and Margaret Robson (1679), his 5x great grandparents.

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