Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
He was 19 years old, and a Lance-Corporal in the 1/5th Bn., The Seaforth Highlanders (Ross-shire Buffs, Duke of Albany's) , British Army during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.
On 20 November 1917 west of Cambrai, France, when the advance was checked by a nest of machine-guns and heavy casualties resulted, Lance-Corporal McBeath volunteered to deal with these guns and moved off alone, armed with a Lewis gun and a revolver. Finding that several other machine-guns were in action, he attacked them, with the assistance of a tank, and drove the gunners to ground in a deep dug-out. The lance-corporal rushed in after them, shot the first man who opposed him then drove the remainder of the garrison out of the dug-out, capturing three officers and 30 men.
After the war, he and his wife had come to Canada where he joined the BC Provincial Police. He joined the Vancouver Police on August 12, 1921. On October 9, 1922, while walking the beat on Granville and Davie Streets, he arrested a man named Fred Deal for impaired driving. While escorting the prisoner to the nearest call-box the man pulled a handgun from his pocket and shot McBeath in the chest. The officer died almost instantly.
(Fred Deal was arrested later that day and at his subsequent trial for murder, he was sentenced to death. The sentence was appealed and changed to one of life imprisonment. He served 21 years before being released and deported to his native Jacksonville, Florida. He died a few years later.)
A Vancouver Police Marine vessel is named the R.C. McBeath VC in honour of Robert McBeath.
Grave/memorial: Ashes buried in Masonic Section 193, Lot 6, Mountain View Crematorium, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Headstone shows name as MacBeath - his name spelt McBeath on all other documents except Vancouver coroner's report.
His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Regimental Museum of Queens Own Highlanders (Fort George, Inverness-shire, Scotland).
- Monuments To Courage (David Harvey, 1999)
- The Register of the Victoria Cross (This England, 1997)
- SCOTLAND'S FORgotten VALOUR (Graham Ross, 1995)
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