Today, Friday 7 November, the BBC has unveiled an iconic digital photo First World War mosaic, created in partnership with IWM. In our latest blog post we take a look at the life story behind the main image of Private James Beaney.
Formed of a combination of 20,000 audience faces along with original First World War imagery sourced from IWM’s archive and the private albums from members of the public, the BBC mosaic was commissioned as a way of commemorating the First World War in a digital age.
The mosaic forms the image of Private James Ernest Beaney, a plumber’s mate from Putney who served with the Royal West Surrey Regiment in France during the First World War. While the mosaic is only being shown until the 11 November, you can remember James’ life story on Lives of the First World War and share that with your friends and family to ensure that his story is preserved forever.
Private James Beaney’s story
James was born on 16 April 1893 in Battersea, London. He had a brother and two sisters, and the family lived in Putney.
Before joining the army, James worked as a plumber’s mate. He joined the East Surrey regiment in Kingston-Upon-Thames, Surrey on 15 August 1914. James arrived in France on 31 May 1915. James was serving with D Company, 6 Battalion, Royal West Surrey Regiment near Martinsart Wood, France when he was killed on 8 August 1916.
He is buried nearby in Bouzincourt Communal Cemetery Extension. James’ mother Maria chose the following inscription for his headstone: He bravely answered Duty’s call and died so nobly for us all.
Private James Beaney’s Father donated his sons portrait to the Imperial War Museum when it was first established, as did so many of the families of those included in this artwork.
- Remember James Beaney and share his life story page with your friends and family
Join IWM and the Lives of the First World War in actively remembering those who served in the First World War on the home and fighting fronts this Remembrance. Who will you remember?