Frederick Beaumont

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Frederick Edward Blackett Beaumont
BeaumontFEB.jpg
Born 22 October 1833
Died 20 August 1899
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Years of service 1852 - 1877
Rank Colonel
Unit Royal Engineers
Battles/wars Crimean War, Indian Mutiny
Awards IndMutinyRibbon.png Indian Mutiny Medal
Turkish Crimean War medal
Other work Member of Parliament

Frederick Edward Blackett Beaumont (22 October 1833 – 20 August 1899) was an English-born British officer of the Royal Engineers who produced several inventions, including a tunneling machine which bore his name, and the Beaumont–Adams revolver.

Early life[edit]

Beaumont was the son of Edward Blackett Beaumont and Jane Lee. He was born in Darfield, South Yorkshire[1] and educated at the Harrow School, Harrow on the Hill, England.

Career[edit]

A contemporary plan of a tunnel boring machine from the 1880s on an idea by Colonel Frederick Beaumont and Thomas English. The tunnel boring machine was 9 meters (30 ft) long and was driven with compressed air.

Beaumont served in the Royal Engineers and was a contemporary of General Charles George Gordon; his name appeared directly before Gordon's in the Army Lists from the date of their first commissioning on 23 June 1852.

As a lieutenant, Beaumont saw service during the Crimean War, and was one of only a small number of British officers who served with Turkish forces along the Danube, serving with the (local) rank of Captain in the Turkish Contingent Engineers, for which service he was awarded the Turkish Crimean War medal rather than the British Crimean War Medal.

In 1858 Beaumont again saw action, in the Indian Mutiny, during which he served on the staff of the Royal Engineers, distinguishing himself on 14 March 1858 at Lucknow and being awarded the Indian Mutiny Medal with clasp.

Promoted to Captain in 1866, Beaumont in conjunction with Captain F.E. Grover made efforts to get ballooning adopted by the British Army, Beaumont having witnessed the use of balloons in the American Civil War.

Beaumont was promoted to Major in 1872, and in 1873 was placed in charge of railways at the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich. While in the post he worked on methods for generating hydrogen for balloon experiments and was described by his contemporaries as "a man of remarkably inventive talent."

In 1874 Beaumont became involved with the Channel Tunnel Company and successfully bored a number of tunnels without the use of explosives and more than three times faster than manual labour. He invented a tunneling machine which was accidentally credited with work actually carried out by Captain Thomas English's more successful machine in 1880, in the magazine The Engineer. Despite letters of complaint from Captain English the editor of the magazine did nothing to correct the mistake and even today the early Channel Tunnel trial is sometimes incorrectly credited to Beaumont's machine.

In 1876 Beaumont took leave from the Army and was elected one of the two Members of Parliament for South Durham which he held from 1868 to 1880.

Beaumont retired from the Army shortly after his promotion to Colonel in 1877, and died on 20 August 1899.

References[edit]

  • "thePeerage.com - Person Page 505". thePeerage.com. Retrieved 7 February 2008.
  • "Biography-Col. F.E.B. Beaumont, RE". Nineteenth Century British and Indian Armies and their Soldiers. Retrieved 7 February 2008.
  • Driver, Hugh (1997). The Birth of Military Aviation: Britain, 1903-1914. Royal Historical Society. ISBN 0-86193-234-X.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Joseph Whitwell Pease
Charles Freville Surtees
Member of Parliament for South Durham
18681880
With: Joseph Whitwell Pease
Succeeded by
Joseph Whitwell Pease
Hon. Frederick William Lambton