Commander Charles T Beard
Statement of Service
Name: Charles Taschereau Beard
Birth: 30 July 1890, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Royal Naval Reserve 1909-1910
Royal Canadian Navy 1910-1941
Retirement: RCN - Commander, Honourable
Medals and Decorations:
WWI - The 1914-15 Star
British War Medal 1914-18
Victory Medal 1914-1919 (mentioned in despatches)
WWII - King George V Jubilee Medal, 1935
War Medal 1939-1945
Death: 21 November 1948 at Esquimalt, British Columbia
Commander Charles T Beard
Charles T. Beard was born in Ottawa, Ontario in 1890. At the age of 17 he left his native land to pursue a maritime career in Great Britain. This was to be the start of a long and distinguished naval career. During his lifetime, Beard served with 30 different ships.
After completing two years of service aboard the Merchant Training ship Conway, Beard returned to Canada to join several different fisheries patrol vessels including the ships Kestrel and Canada. He became a member of the Royal Naval Reserve on March 4, 1909 after which he spent a short time in HMS ALGERINE while she was stationed at Esquimalt.
On October 21, 1910 he joined the Royal Canadian Navy as a midshipman. A great part of his early naval career was spent with the Royal Navy. In 1922 he became Senior Naval Officer, Esquimalt and the Captain of Naden. He later held various posts at Headquarters including Director of Naval Reserves and also Director of Naval Operations. In 1936 he was once again at Naden as Commanding Officer as well as Commander of the Dockyard. Upon retirement, he distinguished himself in civilian life by representing Esquimalt as an MLA for 6 years.
Beard's most notable command was his last. He was called out of retirement at the beginning of the Second World War and was the first to take command of HMCS PRINCE ROBERT. PRINCE ROBERT was a former passenger vessel that was converted and commissioned as an auxiliary cruiser in 1940. Her first mission was to help reinforce a blockade off the Mexican coast that was attempting to prevent enemy merchant raiders from sailing. After dark while on patrol off Manzanillo on September 25th, the lookouts spotted a large ship coming out. Beard kept PRINCE ROBERT to the south and unobserved, waiting until the other ship cleared the port. The merchantman was tracked for a mile astern until both were in international waters. Then PRINCE ROBERT closed on the other vessel and illuminated her port quarter. The enemy vessel, Weser, was taken completely by surprise, and before her crew could scuttle her she was boarded. A small prize crew sailed Weser back to Esquimalt.
Commander Beard's command of PRINCE ROBERT was short-lived as he was forced into retirement again due to ill health. The tragic loss of his son may also have been a factor. RCN Mishipman Thomas Norman Kemp Beard was just 20 years of age when he was killed in action in May 1941 during HMS Hood's famous and fatal encounter with the German battleship Bismarck. Beard Lake near Port Hardy, BC, is named in remembrance of Midshipman Beard.
Charles Taschereau Beard died on November 21, 1948 and was buried with full military honours.