My thanks go to David Redhead who kindly provided a splendid photo of Salonika’s iconic White Tower, following an appeal for information in our email newsletter, The New Balkan News. The photo belonged to his grandfather and I am delighted to be able to remember him here.
Herbert Beacock – born on 16 December 1891 – enlisted as a private in the Royal Army Medical Corps in Grimsby on 11 December 1915. His service number was 106855 and he served with 32nd Motor Ambulance Convoy, RAMC.
Herbert arrived in Salonica on 10 August 1916 and did not sail for home until 7 August 1919. He was Mentioned in Despatches on 9 March 1919 when his rank was given as Corporal. Inevitably he contracted malaria but was only awarded a 10% disability pension; this may well have been because his malaria was “quiescent” at the time of his medical examination which was carried out on 28 July 1919 in Constantinople. Herbert was demobilised in Woking on 17 September 1919 when his rank was given as acting QMS. He died on 20 July 1979.
This is the photo, presumably showing ambulances from 32nd Motor Ambulance Convoy, and is unusual in that it shows the White Tower from seaward – possibly from onboard a hospital ship. The lack of fire damage in the buildings in the background puts this photo before the Great Fire of August 1917. I think this is the first photo I have seen showing the jetty by the White Tower. Other photos of medical evacuations show them taking place at the port, which is at the other end of the sea front (to the left of the picture). Has anyone come across anything referring to the use of this jetty?This is a fascinating picture and if you can shed any light on it, please get in touch.