Beckenham History

PEEL The Rev Hon MAURICE BERKELEY

MC and bar, Chaplain 4th class, Army Chaplain’s department.

Died serving the wounded and dying, 14/05/1917 Grave V.A.31. QUEANT ROAD CEMETERY BUISSY.

Son of 1st Viscount Arthur Wellesley Peel, husband of the late Emily Peel, vicar St Paul’s church, Brackley Rd 1909 to 1915.The Rev Maurice Peel lived at the vicarage, Eyeworth House, 17 Park Rd, Beckenham with his wife Emily when he was the vicar of St Paul’s church, Brackley Rd from 1909 – 1915. They had a baby boy called David Arthur born in Beckenham on 4 October 1910. They also had a daughter in March 1912 but Emily died five days later. Her life is commemorated in the beautiful font white marble angel at the back of the church. The girl was baptised Mary Emily in the church on 23.5.1912.

From St Paul’s, the Rev Maurice transferred to Tamworth, Staffs in 1915, after he had been badly wounded when acting as chaplain to the 1st Royal Welsh Fusiliers at the Battle of Festubert in France. This battle took place between 15 and 25 May 1915 and was unsuccessful because the BEF lacked the heavy artillery with high-explosive shells that could destroy the enemy trenches. When this fact reached the newspapers it resulted in the downfall of the Asquith Liberal government. His father had grown up in Tamworth where the Peels had developed the Tamworth breed of pigs. 

There is a statue of St George outside the Glascote parish church dedicated to his memory and his name also appears on the Beckenham war memorial. TW Thornton’s published ‘A Hero Saint’, a memoir of the Rev Peel, by Gerald Sampson, vicar of St Paul’s, & Maurice Berkeley Peel C F. M C. in 1917. A copy of this book exists in the St Paul’s archives. 

 

 

 

 

 

Additional Information:
Date of Death: 01/01/1917

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