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Andrew Cracroft BECHER (1858-1929)

Known As
The Brigadier-General; General Becher
Biographical Details

Andrew Cracroft Becher (1858-1929) was in charge of Southern Command Depot, Sutton Coldfield, where Mela Brown Constable worked for a time from 1917-1918.  He and his wife are mentioned in several of Mela’s letters.

Andrew Becher was born in Brighton on 26th August 1858, the youngest son of General Sir A M Becher, KCB, and his wife, Frances Ann.  He was educated at Rugby.  Following in the footsteps of his father, he joined the army, being commissioned into the Norfolk Regiment on 30th January 1878.  He served in Afghanistan, the East Indies, Gibraltar, South Africa.  He retired from the Norfolk Regiment in 1905 having attained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel (brevet Colonel).

Andrew Becher married firstly Frances Maude Johnson in 1883, by whom he had a son and two daughters (his son, Maurice Andrew Noel, was killed at Gallipoli in April 1915).  Frances died in 1904 and Andrew married again on 13th April 1907 at the Church of St John the Evangelist, Edinburgh, to Elisabeth Dalyell Stewart who was 20 years his junior.  He was at that time commanding the 2nd Lothian Brigade.

Andrew and Elisabeth had three sons:  Arthur Ford (c1909-1936), James Stewart (1910-1941) and Michael Douglas Sullivan (1914).

At the start of WW1, Andrew Becher was in command of 63rd (2nd Northumbrian) Division, which was a second-line Territorial Force, formed in 1914, which served on home defence duties.  It remained on home defence and training duties in the north-east and east of England until 1916 when it was disbanded.  Andrew Becher then assumed command of the Southern Command Depot in Sutton Coldfield, in charge of three camps.  From 1st January 1917 he was given the honorary rank of Brigadier-General.  In a letter of 6th December 1917, Mela described him as an elderly man (he was 59) who had been ordered by his doctor to take it easy because of his heart, otherwise he might not live through the winter.

After the war, Brigadier General Becher was awarded the CBE.  He retired with his family to Devon where he lived at Northam Lodge, Northam.

He died on 11th May 1929 at the Union Club, Westward Ho, Devon, aged 70, and was buried at St Margaret’s, Northam, Devon.

Letters mentioning this person: