Freund Beaumont

Putting his banking experience to good use, Freund became an assistant paymaster in the navy.

Freund Beaumont was born in London on 15 February 1887, the second of five children of William Beaumont, a house painter, and his wife Emma.

In 1903 Beaumont started work as a boy clerk in the accountant general’s office of the British Postal Service. Three years later, he took a job working for our constituent London & County Bank. In 1909 London & County Bank merged with London & Westminster Bank, and Beaumont became an employee of the enlarged London County & Westminster Bank. By 1914 he was working at the bank’s London St James’ Street branch.

During the First World War Beaumont volunteered to join the navy. His background in banking gave him valuable experience of handling cash and managing accounts and so, like many bankers in the navy, he became an Assistant Paymaster. By 1917 he was serving on board HMS Laurentic, a former White Star Line ocean liner which had been requisitioned at the outbreak of war and subsequently converted for armed merchant marine use.

On 25 January 1917 the Laurentic was on her way to New York, carrying a cargo which included £5m of gold. She struck two mines off the coast of Ireland and sank within an hour, killing 354 of those on board. Beaumont escaped the ship in one of the lifeboats, taking with him the pay ledger for which he was responsible – ‘faithful to the end’, as his Captain later noted. During the cold January night that followed, Beaumont gave his coat to a fellow survivor. He died later that night from exposure. Only 5 of the 36 occupants of the lifeboat survived; among them was the man to whom Beaumont had given his coat.

In a letter of condolence to Beaumont’s parents, Laurentic’s Captain called him 'very hard-working and good in every way; never a fault in his work, and always willing.'

Beaumont’s youngest brother Henry, nine years his junior, was killed in action in the Western Front almost exactly a month later, while serving as a Private in the Honourable Artillery Company. 


Karen Pack October 25 2014 10:05PM

Freund Beaumont was a scholar at the coopers' company school in bow in 1899. He lived at 344 Strone Road, Manor Park.