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In Memoriam
  David J. Beckingsale  
Welch Regiment
Died 13th. April 1983
Major David Beckingsale's death at the early age of 46 came as a profound shock to all who knew him. 'Dai Beck', as he was affectionately known, joined the Welch Regiment from Sandhurst in 1956. After three years with the 1st Battalion in BAOR (British Army of the Rhine) and Cyprus he was posted to the All Arms Junior Leaders' Unit in North Wales. It was at this time that I first met him and well remember being struck by his kindness, sincerity and above all enthusiasm, three qualities that never diminished.
David rejoined 1 Welch in Berlin in 1961, at a time of excitement, anticipation and long working hours following the building of the "Berlin Wall". In 1963 the Battalion became the Demonstration Battalion at the School of Infantry at Warminster and David was appointed to the new post of APC (Armoured Personnel Carrier) Platoon Commander. At that time the APC (AFV 432) was a comparatively new vehicle and still subject to many teething problems. However, David faced this new challenge with enormous vigour and by a mixture of trial and error and many hours spent deep in technical manuals, soon mastered the "beast" and became an acknowledged expert on it.
In 1965 he became Adjutant of the Welsh Depot and after three years at Crickhowell rejoined 1 Welch in Hong Kong before being posted to the staff of HQ British Troop, Malta, in 1969. It was while he was in Malta that he took up water skiing, an interest he retained and a sport at which he became an expert. In 1971 he joined 1 RRW (Royal Regiment of Wales) in Osnabruck as `B' Company Commander. The following year the Battalion was involved in a most difficult and demanding tour of duty in Northern Ireland, where it was deployed in and around the Catholic Ardoyne District of Belfast. `B' Company was based in the Ardoyne Bus Depot where David's skill, patience and above all concern for the safety and welfare of his soldiers was most noticeable.
On leaving 1 RRW in 1972, he was posted to the Depot Prince of Wales's Division for his second tour of duty at Crickhowell. Following three years at the Depot he moved to the Army apprentice College, Chepstow, and from there to 4 RRW as Training Major in 1978.
One of David's most attractive qualities was his infectious enthusiasm. He threw himself wholeheartedly into every hobby and interest, of which he had many. Whether it was building coracles or displaying his talents as a magician, his enthusiasm was never less than total. As an outstanding amateur magician (he was a member of the Magic Circle) he kept adults and children alike entranced with his skill. No party was ever complete without the Beckingsale "magic".
There are few people in life one would turn to for help knowing you would receive genuine sympathy, understanding and support. David Beckingsale was one such person. He was a true Christian who thought ill of no man, who had a caring and concerned attitude to his fellow beings, who was universally liked and who enriched the lives of all who knew him. He had a marvellous sense of fun, a keen eye for the ridiculous, couldn't stand pomposity and laughed easily. It was always a joy being with him and he will be sorely missed by the many, many people who knew him and who grieve for the loss of a loyal comrade and trusted friend.
In 1961 David married Joan Little at St David's Cathedral. Throughout their married life she gave him unstinted support, total loyalty, strength and the love of true companionship; they were a devoted couple. To her and the three children we extend our deepest and heartfelt sympathy.
Lt Col M T O Lloyd OBE

Men of Harlech
No. 29 - Autumn 1983

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