Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Beach, Edward L.
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Beach, Edward L.

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Captain, USN, (1867-1943)

Edward Latimer Beach was born in Ohio on 30 June 1867. He was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy from the State of Minnesota in 1884, graduating in June 1888 as a Passed Midshipman. He served on board the steam sloop of war Richmond and received his commission as an Assistant Engineer in July 1890. During the next decade he had seagoing assignments on the cruisers Philadelphia and New York and the training ship Essex, plus engineering-related shore duty. In 1899, as the Navy combined its Line and Engineer Officer ranking systems, Beach became a Lieutenant.


During the first decade of the Twentieth Century, Beach was assigned to the monitor Nevada, the U.S. Naval Academy and the armored cruiser Montana. He was promoted to Lieutenant Commander in 1905 and Commander in 1910. While holding the latter rank, he was Engineer Officer at the Boston Navy Yard and Commanding Officer of the repair ship Vestal. He next commanded the armored cruiser Washington, attaining the rank of Captain in December 1914, and was closely involved with restoring order to strife-torn Haiti in 1915. Captain Beach took command of the armored cruiser Tennessee (soon renamed Memphis) in early 1916 and was her captain when she was wrecked by a tsunami on 29 August of that year.


Though convicted by court martial of "not having enough steam available to get under way on short notice", this charge was widely regarded as unwarranted and Captain Beach continued to receive important assignments. He was Commandant of the Naval Torpedo Station at Newport, Rhode Island, in 1917 and 1918, commanded the battleship New York during the final months of World War I, and ended his active career as Commandant of the Mare Island Navy Yard, California. Retired in September 1921, Captain Edward L. Beach died at Oakland, California, on 20 December 1943.


Note: The subject of this page should not be confused with his son, who shared his name and ultimate rank, and was a noted submarine officer as well as a prolific author of fictional and historical books about the Navy.


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