Wartime Legend Bill Beck

In our view this photo of Canterbury’s first premiership team in 1920 is the most iconic picture in 136 years of history.

This photo that in recent years has been in the change rooms in sepia, depicts a team of mostly ANZAC veterans. A look closely at their faces shows you that these men had experienced horrors that defy description. This victory by 1 point against Mitcham who were a powerhouse at this time, made Canterbury the premier club in 1st Division, in the Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne.

Standing i58033F2A-17BC-4377-A236-1A881FA16251n the middle of the picture, in dark shorts, to the left of the man in the hat, who was the club’s long time president A.V Paull, is William “Bill” Beck. He was the skipper. Beck had served at Gallipoli and on the Western Front and had been gassed, and his war record listed many shrapnel wounds. He lined up in the Grand Final on a half forward flank.

After Canterbury, Bill spent many years working for Carlton FC. His brother Les had played in Carltons 3 in a row flags in the early 20th century. Bill never married or had kids. When he died about 20 years ago, he had two possessions that represented his lives work and achievements. His war medals and this picture, that was clearly one of the proudest achievements of his life. As he sadly had no next of kin these possessions remained for years in the protection of Carlton’s lawyer. When this lawyer died his estate was handled by Canterbury Premiership player Andrew Baker’s Dad. From there this photo was returned to the club. We did not have a copy of this photo.

Now Bill Beck’s deeds in war for our country are over a 100 years ago, and his role in securing Canterbury its first flag, is almost a 100 years ago. Bill Beck you are not forgotten, for your name lives forever as part of Canterbury FC history, and you are part of the Canterbury FC family.

As our first ever premiership captain we are proud to add this man to the shortlist of our great players of 136 years.