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vessels and machines, with the troops under Tollemache, and arrived with the fleet at Camaret Bay on 7 June, when the land attack failed. Dieppe and Havre were then reduced to ruins by Beckman's bomb-vessels, and the whole coast so harassed and alarmed that the inhabitants had to be forcibly kept in the coast towns. Having returned to St. Helens on 26 July, Beckman and his bomb-vessels went with the fleet under Sir Clowdisley Shovell to the attack of Dunkirk and Calais in September, and then returned to England. He afterwards visited the Channel Islands and reported on the defences of Guernsey. His plans of St. Peter's, Castle Cornet, and the Bouche de Yale, with water-colour sketches, are in the British Museum.
On 22 May 1695 Beckman was appointed to the command of the ordnance train and the machine and bomb-vessels for the summer expedition to the straits of Gibraltar, and took part in the operations on the coast of Catalonia, returning home in the autumn. His demands for projectiles for his bomb-vessels were so large that the board of ordnance represented that parliament had made no provision to meet them. He exercised a similar command in the summer expedition under Lord Berkeley, which sailed at the end of June 1696 to 'insult the coast of France.' On 3 July Berkeley detached a squadron of ten ships of war under Captain Mees, E..N., and Beckman with his bomb-vessels. They entered St. Martin's, Isle of Rhé, on the 5th under French colours, which they struck as soon as they had anchored. They bombarded the place all that night and the following day, expending over two thousand bombs and destroying the best part of the town. On the 7th they sailed for Olonne, where a like operation produced a similar result, and then rejoined the fleet, returning to Torbay. These enterprises created such alarm that over a hundred batteries were ordered by the French ministry to be erected between Brest and Goulet, and over sixty thousand men were continually in arms for coast defence.
Early in 1697 Beckman surveyed all the bomb-vessels, ten of which he reported to be in good condition and fitted to take in twenty mortars 'which are all we have serviceable.' On the general thanksgiving for peace on 2 Dec. Beckman designed the fire-work display before the king and the royal family in St. James's Square, London ; his drawing representation of it is in the King's Library, British Museum.
Lack of money for defences caused Beckman as much difliculty as his predecessors and successors in office. Representations of insecurity — in regard to Portsmouth, for example, in 1699 — led to many plans and reports, but nothing was effected.
Beckman died in London on 24 June 1702. He appears to have married Elizabeth, daughter of Talbot Edwards, keeper of the crown jewels. She was buried at the Tower of London on 12 Dec. 1677. Two sons, Peter and Edward, were also buried there on 7 Feb. 1676 and 29 June 1678 respectively. The board of ordnance wrote to Marlborough that Beckman's death was a very great loss. The post remained unfilled for nine years.
[Board of Ordnance Records ; Royal Engineers' Records; Royal Warrants; Cat. of State Papers, 1644-1702; various tracts on Fortification, &c. ; Addit. MSS. Brit. Mus. ; Story's Impartial Hist, of Wars in Ireland, and Continuation, 1693 ; Bayley's Tower of London, 1821 ; Life, Journals, and Correspondence of Samuel Pepys, 1841, also Diary of same; Camden's Gravesend ; Pocock's Gravesend and Milton, 1797 ; Field of Mars, 1801 ; Rapin's Hist. ; Hume's Hist. ; Charnock'a Biographia Navalis, 1795; Campbell's British Admirals; Lord Carmarthen's Journal of the Brest Expedition, 1694; Present State of Europe, 1694; Hastod's Kent ; Burke's Seats and Arms ; Kennett's Register; Strj'pe; Cannon's Hist. Records of the 18th Royal Irish Regiment.]