Sydney [Sidney] Wentworth Beauclerk was born on 10 October 1895 in Irasburg VT the only child of William Preston & Jennie M. (Hayward) Beauclerk. W. Preston, was a physician and surgeon who had practiced in Contoocook from 1896-1903, and in Concord NH from 1903-1921.
Sidney was educated in the public schools of Concord NH, and entered Syracuse University (Class of 1919). His education, and life, was interrupted by World War I.
According to the book, New England Aviators 1914-1918 Their Portraits and Their Records, Vol 1, ed by Caroline Ticknor, 1919, “In Aug., 1916, he [Sydney W. Beauclerk] attended the Officers’ Training Camp at Plattsburg. He enlisted May 11, 1917, and he entered the U.S. Aviation Ground School at Ithaca, NY and on completion of his course there was sent overseas to Foggia, Italy, Sept 25, 1917.
He received his pilot’s license in Italy; was commissioned 1st Lieut. on March 22, 1918 and was sent to France for further training at Tours and Issoudun. He was assigned to the 12th Aero Squadron Sept 8, 1918, and took part in the St.-Mihiel drive, being later transferred to the Argonne sector. His excellent work performed in the St.-Mihiel attack proved him one of the best men in the Squadron and he received high praise from his commanding officers in the Argonne.
On Oct 29 he was sent up with a formation of six planes whose mission was to photograph a sector over which the infantry must advance the next morning. The formation was attacked by overwhelming numbers, but in spite of this the mission succeeded, through the heroism of Lieut. Beauclerk, who sacrificed his own plane to save that containing the pictures necessary for the guidance of the infantry. By taking the bullets intended for the photographic plane, he doubtless saved many lives in the impending advance.
He fought to the last, and when he came down behind the German lines, mortally wounded, he landed his machine in such a way as to save his observer’s life. When on the following morning, the infantry made its famous attack, which had a direct bearing on the end of the war, they found the grave of Lieut. Beauclerk, who had been buried with military honors by the enemy at Champigneulle, five miles east of Grand Pre. Upon a cross these words were inscribed. “Here lies an American flyer, Lieut. S.W. Beauclerk, Jr., killed Oct 29, 1918.”
When the War ended, the remains of soldiers who fell in Europe were moved to centralized locations. The body of Sidney Beauclerk is now in Plot B Row 36 Grave 10, Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery, Romagne, France.
His name can be found inscribed on the monument at Concord NH’s Memorial Field, and on New Hampshire’s Honor Roll in Doric Hall of the NH State House. In 1920 both of Sidney’s parents obtained passports to visit various locations in Europe, including France. No doubt they visited their son’s grave site.
According to one of my readers tells me that an individual WWI monument was placed at or near the Concord (NH) Municipal Airport, 65 Airport Road, “and states that the field is dedicated to the memory of Sydney W Beauclerk, Jr.” (Thank you David Rolla!) It was dedicated in 1929. Photographs of the memorial and details can be found at “World War I Memorials in Concord New Hampshire.“