Major Winfrid Kelsey Beaman was the son of H H Beaman and Hannah Beaman nee Hanson. He was educated at Charing Cross Hospital where he gained the Huxley scholarship in 1901, and the Governors' Gold Medal for clinical work in 1906. He graduated MRCS and LRCP London in 1906 and held the appointment of House Surgeon at Charring Cross Hospital. He was Resident Medical Officer of the Kent County Sanatorium at Lenham. In 1923, following his retirement from the service, he set for, and passed, the Membership of the Royal College of Physicians (MRCP) London.
On 28 January 1907, he was commissioned Lieutenant in the Royal Army Medical Corps. He obtained top marks in the examination held in London for commissions in the Royal Army Medical Corps, for which 78 candidates competed. Only 30 were accepted. He scored 612 marks and gained the Parkes Memorial Medal at the Royal Army Medical College; the 30th candidate, Dr Francis Casement, obtaining 479 marks.
Major Winfrid Kelsey Beaman served with the British Expeditionary Force in France. He commanded 64th Field Ambulance, was twice mentioned in dispatches (London Gazette 1 January 1916 and 4 January 1917) and in 1917 received the Distinguished Service Order (DSO).
On 26 August 1914, he was one of 14 medical officers captured by the Germans at Landrecies, where the British had opened three hospitals. He was kept a Prisoner of War at Torgau, an old fortress where the Germans held 60 British officers and some 100 French officers. His wife and family only learnt that he was still alive in October. On 26 November all the British officers were transferred to Burg where he spent ten days before being moved on to Halle on 6 December. On 11 February 1915, he was transferred to Quedlinburg, where he was nominally in medical charge of the English prisoners. The man's camp at Quedlinburg held ten thousand Russian, French, and English prisoners. It had 12 French and two Russian medical officers. Tuberculosis was rife in the camp and the infected were not segregated. Major Winfrid Kelsey Beaman left Quedlinburg around May 1915. He left a historical record of his experiences in the POW camps in the Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps.1
Lieutenant Colonel Winfrid Kelsey Beaman retired in 1922 on account of ill health. After his retirement he filled the positions of honorary physician to the Ministry of Pensions Mount Pleasant Hospital, Chepstow, honorary physician to the Pontypool and District Hospital, and honorary consulting physician to the Chepstow and District Hospital and to the Victoria Cottage Hospital, Abergavenny. He died at Durban, Natal, on 9 May 1929, aged 46 years.
Service Record — Winfrid Kelsey Beaman
28 Jan 1907 Appointed Lieutenant RAMC on probation. In May 1907, he was seconded to Charring Cross Hospital until 31 August 1907 under the provisions of Article 349 of the Royal Warrant. On 1 September 1907, he was transferred from the Seconded List and confirmed in rank of Lieutenant RAMC.
Mar 1908 Stationed at Woolwich.
Nov 1908 Change of Station from Woolwich to Devonport.
Malta Feb 1911 Posted to Forrest Military Hospital St Julians on his return from leave.
Malta 1912 Officer in charge Forrest Military Hospital St Julian's.
Malta 3 Sept 1912 Home leave.
Malta 27 Nov 1912 Returned to Malta.
Malta 1913 Instructed by the PMO Colonel Robert Porter to give a series of lectures to the troops in the various barracks on temperance from a health standpoint.
Malta May 1913 Won the Lawn Tennis Tournament Challenge Cup for Regimental and Ships Doubles in partnership with Major Henry Lawrence Weekes Norrington for the third year in succession. The Cup had been presented by Colonel Elliott Wood, Commander Royal Engineers, in 1897.
19 Aug 1914 Served with the British Expeditionary Force in France. The Daily Malta Chronicle dated 30 Sep 1914 reported him as missing with several other officers of the Medical Corps who had been separated from the main army while tending the wounded and became prisoners of war.
26 Aug 1914–May 1915 Prisoner of War in Torgau, Burg, Halle and Quedlinburg Germany.
26 Aug 1916 Acting Lieutenant Colonel.
1916–1919 Commanding Officer 64th Field Ambulance. In September 1919, he relinquished his Acting rank of Lieutenant Colonel on ceasing to command a medical unit.
4 Jan 1917 Captain (Temporary Major) W K Beaman received a mention in the despatch of Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig, for distinguished, gallant services and devotion to duty. Was made a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order (London Gazette 1 Jan 1917).
28 Jan 1919 Promoted Major RAMC.
1919–1920 Served in India (invalided).
9 Oct 1922 Placed temporarily on half-pay on account of ill health.
31 Jan 1923 Retired due to ill health and granted the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
24 Nov 1925 Attended the General Meeting of Newport Medical Society at the Royal Gwent Hospital.
27 Jan 1926 Read a paper on the value of renal function tests in clinical medicine at a meeting of the Newport Medical Society.
19 Nov 1927 At a clinical meeting of the South Wales and Monmouthshire Branch of the British Medical Association held at the Royal Gwent Hospital, Newport, he demonstrated a case of oedema of the feet and legs in a woman, aged 35, believed to be early parenchymatous nephritis with little involvement of the kidney, no cysts being present in the urine.
9 May 1929 Died at Durban, Natal, aged 46 years.
Entry No: 553. Drew R. 1968. Commissioned Offices in the Medical Services of the British Army 1690—1960. Vol. II. Roll of Officers in the Royal Army Medical Corps 1898–1960, London: Wellcome Historical Medical Library.
Succession Books Vol XXIII, Returns of statement of service of RAMC Officers.
German Prison Camps. Br Med J (1916);420 (Published 18 March 1916).
1Beaman W K., Some experiences of a Prisoner of War in Germany with remarks on four prisoner's camps. J Roy Army Med Corps (1915); xxv: 482–493 (Published November 1915).
O'Moore C., and Humphris E. M., The VC and DSO Vol III from 1 January 1916 to 12 June 1923.