Second Lieutenant Egbert William Beach was born in San Francisco on October 6, 1888, and was killed in action in France on April 27, 1918. Beach is buried in the Somme American Cemetery outside the village of Bony, France (Plot D Row 18 Grave 1). He was a member of the 1 st Engineer Regiment, 1 st Division.
Egbert Beach graduated from Oakland High School in 1909 and the University of California at Berkeley in 1916. After graduation, he was employed in the engineering department of the San Francisco-Oakland Terminal Railways. He was a member of the First Baptist Church of Oakland and was active in “Young Peoples Work” at that church. He was the first member of the church to enlist and entered the first officers’ training camp at the Presidio in San Francisco.
Late in 1918, Piedmont’s Lake Avenue School was renamed the Egbert W. Beach School in Lieutenant Beach’s honor. Beach was a popular resident of Piedmont whose family home was on Sunnyside Avenue overlooking the school that now bears his name. There is a plaque in Mountain View Cemetery memorializing Lieutenant Beach’s sacrifice with an inscription that includes the following: “First California officer to fall on foreign soil for the great cause of liberty and righteousness in the world-wide war.”