Eduard Freiherr von Beschi

Eduard Josef Beschi was born on the 13th of March 1848 at Ungarisch-Ostra (Moravia). After successfully graduating from the artillery academy at Mährisch-Weißkirchen he was commissioned as a Leutnant with the 4th fortress artillery battalion in September 1869. A few months later he was transferred to the Silesian field artillery regiment number 9 which was garrisoned in Vienna. This was important because during the following years the highly talented Leutnant Beschi attended the senior artillery course which was the equivalent of the war school for the other branches, from which the successful graduation from that school would qualify a young officer to enter the Artillery Staff, the equivalent of the general staff-corps. After his successful graduation he was promoted to Oberleutnant on the29th of October 1873 and transferred to the 10th fortress artillery battalion but attached to the Technical Administrative Military Committee in Vienna which afforded him on the one hand highly qualified work on artillery materiel and on the other hand regular study at the Technische Hochschule (technical university) in Vienna. He was one of a small group of highly qualified technical officers who were engaged in constructing new gun materiel for the field artillery which was later introduced as the Mod.75. For his outstanding service during this construction process he was honored with the award of the Military Merit Cross on the 30th of December 1876. On the 1st of November 1877 Eduard Beschi was promoted to Hauptmann 1st class. During the following years he was engaged in the development, construction and supply of the siege artillery materiel Mod.1880 and the large guns of the coastal artillery. This neccessitated some traveling from Komorn to Pola and also to the North to Sweden and several German states where he at last met his future wife Wally Sallbach (born at Wittenberg 17th September 1856 - died at Komorn 23rd August 1896). They married in Berlin on the 11th of January 1883 and had 3 children: Margareta Maria (born Vienna 8th December 1883), Edith (born Vienna 6th June 1885) and Hans-Eduard Reinhold Hermann Maria (born Vienna 13th June 1888) who later became an Oberleutnant der Reserve of the mounted artillery during World War 1. In Sweden he found no wife but was decorated with the knight's cross of the Order of Wasa on the 11th of January 1884.

On the 25th of October 1885 Eduard Beschi was permanently transferred to the Artillery Staff and appointed president of the 3rd department of the 1st section of the technical administrative military committee. For his continued efforts in the area of siege and coastal artillery he was honored with the award of the knight's cross of the Order of Franz Joseph on the 16th of February 1886. During the following years he remained at his post as chief of the 3rd department of the 1st section receiving his promotions to Major (1st May 1887), Oberstleutnant (1st November 1890) and Oberst (1st May 1893). For his years of excellent service he was decorated with the award of the 3rd class of the Order of the Iron Crown on the 24th of April 1895 and appointed commander of fortress artillery regiment number 6 at Komorn. This move from the capital to the fortress in the provinces had fatal consequences, his young wife and mother of his 3 little children died there at the early age of only 40! One can imagine how Eduard Beschi now felt about this post and how soon he desired to get another appointment anywhere else! It took two long years but eventually he took over command of  fortress artillery regiment number 4 at Pola on the 11th of March 1897. On the 10th of October 1898 he was appointed Fortress Artillery Director in Pola which made him the chief of the entire artillery in this most important fortress and harbour shortly followed by his promotion to Generalmajor on the 1st of May 1899 with seniority of the 15th of May. For his excellent performance he was honored with the award of the knight's cross of the Order of Leopold on the 12th of March 1904 and additionally appointed Inspector of fortress artillery which made him the chief of the entire fortress artillery in the Austro-Hungarian armed forces shortly followed by the promotion to Feldmarschall-Leutnant on the 1st of May 1904 with the seniority of the 4th of May.

For his satisfactory service as Inspector of the fortress artillery FmLt. Beschi was honored with the title of Oberstinhaber or Colonel-Proprietor of fortress artillery regiment number 2 on the 2nd of December 1907 shortly followed by his relief  from his post and transfer back to the artillery staff corps on the 14th of December. On the occasion of the 60th crown-jubilee the Kaiser honored him again for his 40 years of excellent service with the award of the commander's cross of the Order of Leopold on the 12th of August 1908. Eduard Beschi had a modest character, a typical technician, unpretentious regarding his own demands and so he never saw any sense in paying a great deal of money to request his elevation to the nobility although he would have had a good chance during the last several years. However, he now changed his mind. His son was now old enough to have received his commission as an officer of the reserve and the award of the commander's cross of the Order of Leopold made it possible to request  a tax-free elevation to Freiherr - this investment in the future of his family seemed to be worthwhile. His request was granted on the 26th of October 1909 and he and his family were raised into the nobility with the title of Freiherr by decree of the 30th of November 1909. Meanwhile, on the 26th of April 1909, he was awarded the honorary promotion to Feldzeugmeister (mit Titel und Charakter) and was decorated with the award of the grand cross of the Order Star of Rumania on the 28th of August 1909. It is remarkable that this grand cross awarded directly before his retirement was the only foreign award for this talented and important general besides the small Swedish knight's cross 25 years previously. Feldzeugmeister Eduard Freiherr von Beschi retired on the 27th of October 1909 to his home in Vienna's first district where he died on the 26th of April 1916 - his life span nearly covering that of the reign of Kaiser Franz Joseph!

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