Flanders Fields bell

Flanders Fields bell

  • Height  1041 mm
  • Width  1270 mm
  • Weight  1269 kg
  • Note  E
Bell Inscription

Flanders Fields
In Ever Loving Remembrance of 
Leslie Heron [Beauchamp],
Only Son of Harold and Annie Burnell 

The ‘Flanders Fields’ bell is dedicated to the memory of Leslie Beauchamp, the brother of celebrated New Zealand author Katherine Mansfield.

Born in 1894, Leslie was the youngest of his parents’ five surviving children and was known to his family as ‘Chummie’. He spent his childhood at the family home in Karori in Wellington and attended Wellington College and then Waitaki Boys’ High School in Ōamaru. When war broke out, Leslie was working as a cashier at his father’s importing firm, W.M. Bannatyne and Company.

Leslie left Wellington in December 1914 with the intention of enlisting in the British Army. He secured an officer’s commission in the South Lancashire Regiment before spending several months completing officer training. On several occasions during his training he stayed with his sister Katherine and her partner, John Middleton Murry, at their home in London.

In late September 1915, Leslie, now a second lieutenant, departed for the Western Front. A few weeks later, on 6 October, he was conducting a grenade-throwing demonstration when the bomb he was holding exploded prematurely. Leslie and a fellow officer were both mortally wounded. His death led his sister to write a poem in his memory and influenced much of her later writing.  

Leslie is buried at Ploegsteert Wood Military Cemetery in Belgium. His headstone bears a simple inscription chosen by his family: ‘In loving remembrance’.

In 1926, Harold Beauchamp – the first president of the Wellington War Memorial Carillon Society – purchased one of the bells in memory of his only son. The bell is named for the Flanders region of Belgium, where some of the Western Front’s biggest battles were fought, and where Leslie Beauchamp lost his life.

Further information:

Auckland War Memorial Museum Online Cenotaph record – Leslie Beauchamp
Commonwealth War Graves Commission record – Leslie Beauchamp
Leslie Beauchamp Great War Story
Katherine Mansfield biography
Harold Beauchamp biography
A memorial bell for chummie (Walking with an Anzac)

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