On a recent trip to Plumstead Cemetery to photograph all those lost and forgotten people in, I found myself spending a lot of time thinking about the people buried there and where they came from. Some people’s names bother me and I have this urge to find out more. One particular person was Sir Leicester Beaufort who died on 13 August 1926 – now who would have thought that someone who had a title would have been left and forgotten with the thousands of other neglected and derelict headstones that say “we will never forget you” – how family members use this term on an epitaph always amazing me and 90% of the time they are forgotten and neglected.
I asked some of the other volunteers who was with us on the day “who was the guy that invented the Beaufort scale? “And they all piped up “ah that was William” so it could not have been him but nice try. But my fox-terrier instinct made me look no further than good old google I was astounded to find out that Leicester Beaufort was the son Daniel Augustus Beaufort born on 10 February 1814 at Woburn, Bedfordshire he in turn was the eldest son of Rear-Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort was born on 27 May 1774 at County Louth, Ireland. I had cracked the jackpot
The Beaufort scale was created in 1805 by Sir Francis Beaufort, an admiral and a hydrographer. The scale that carries Beaufort’s name had a long and complex evolution, from the previous work of others, to when Beaufort was a top administrator in the Royal Navy in the 1830s. In the early 19th Century, naval officers made regular weather observations, but there was no standard scale and so they could be very subjective – one man’s “stiff breeze” might be another’s “soft breeze”.
Beaufort succeeded in getting things standardized. Francis Beaufort was the son of Venerable Daniel Augustus Beaufort and Mary Waller. He married, firstly, Alicia Magdalena Wilson, daughter of Captain Lestock Wilson, on 2 December 1812 at St. Mary’s Church, St. Marylebone, London, England. He married, secondly, Honora Edgeworth, daughter of Richard Lovell Edgeworth and Elizabeth Sneyd, on 8 November 1838 at Edgeworthstown, County Longford, Ireland. He died on 17 December 1857 at age 83 at Hove, Sussex, England. He was buried at Hackney Church Cemetery, Hackney, Middlesex, England. Rear-Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort was commissioned in June 1787, in the service of the Royal Navy on board H.M.S. Colossus, under Captain Hugh Cloberry Christian.
He gained the rank of Lieutenant on 10 May 1796. On 28 October 1800 at Fangerolle Castle, Malaga, Spain, he commanded the boat party which cut out the Spanish ship, San Josef (26 guns), and was wounded 19 times. He gained the rank of Commander on 13 November 1800. He gained the rank of Captain on 30 May 1810, in command of the frigate, H.M.S. Frederiksteen. On 20 June 1812 he was badly wounded by pirates. He wrote the book H.M.S. Frederiksteen, or a brief description of the South Coast of Asia Minor, published 1817. He held the office of Hydrographer to the Navy between 1829 and 1855. He gained the rank of Rear-Admiral on 1 October 1846. He was invested as a Knight Commander, Order of the Bath (K.C.B.) on 29 April 1848. He was invested as a Fellow, Royal Astronomical Society (F.R.A.S.). He was invested as a Fellow, Royal Society (F.R.S.).He has an extensive biographical entry in the Dictionary of National Biography. Leicester Paul Beaufort died on the 13 August 1926 at his place of residence at “Sandown” Broad Road Wynberg aged 72 years and 8 months. His death notice says that he was married to Edith Mary Beaufort born Griffiths one daughter is listed as child namely Marion Ceciley Spillane. Accompanying document (will) just mentions a Geoffrey Beaumont, a cousin, who was to inherit a bequest of 10,000 Pounds and a great nephew, Francis Victor Beaufort, got a mention, as well as a Llewellyn Griffith who received a 1000 Pound bequest. For 1926 this was literally a king’s ransom in South African monetary terms for that period.