Lincoln family’s war letters debut in play for Armistice Week

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The unique contribution made by a Lincoln family to the First World War will be remembered in a commemorative play, bringing to life the family’s accounts of life at war.

The Last Post is to be performed at Lincoln Drill Hall over five performances during Armistice Week from November 12 to 15.

As previously reported, Lincoln Mystery Plays Community Theatre Company called upon local people to help with all aspects of the performance.

The play gives an account of the Beechey family after all eight of the Beechey boys did their duty in the service of King and Country. Five were killed during the war and a sixth crippled.

The family’s story existed only in local memorials, in the family’s own remembrances and more recently in the book Brothers at War.

No other British family gave so much to the war effort. The Lincoln Mystery Plays Trust has drawn directly on the 300 letters written home by the eight serving sons to their mother Amy Beechey and five sisters at Avondale Street, off Monks Road.

The story is influenced by the boys’ letters home, written in training camps and on the battlefronts of France, Flanders, Gallipoli and East Africa where they met their fates.

Three of the Beechey boys – Eric, Harold and Sam – were educated at De Aston School in Market Rasen – where Frank, who also taught at Lincoln’s Cathedral Choir School, was also a maths master.

Eric returned from the war to run the Bailgate chemists and Amy, who died in 1936, became one of the first residents of the St Giles estate and a stalwart of the church.

The Last Post is also influenced by family remembrances and was written to be performed in the very place where men trained in readiness for war a century ago – Lincoln Drill Hall.

The exceptional extent of the family’s loss was even brought to the attention of the King and Queen who famously thanked their mother for her sacrifice.

Artistic director Janie Smith said: “The Last Post is about a local family, our neighbours from a different era, and there is so much that it special in their story and their unique sacrifice.

“We can only pay the honour due to them and reverence them forever in our memories. It is with this in mind that we seek to involve the community in a commemorative remembrance of these eight men’s courage, their mother’s resilience and the unimaginable suffering of the Great War.”

Performances are nightly at 7pm on November 12, 13, 14 & 15, with a 2pm matinee on Saturday 15.

Tickets are on sale now, £12 and £10 concessions, at Lincoln Drill Hall or by calling 01522 873894.

Booking is highly recommended. Group and schools discounts are also available.

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