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Allied Air Forces
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Those who Served
AC Frank Beaves .
Allan Sutherland Beavis DFM. Royal Australian Air Force 608 Squadron from Bilgowla Plateau, New South Wales, Australia)
I interviewed Allan on the 28th of June 2016. He was a navigator on 608 Squadron RAF and flew on 55 sorties on Mosquitos between October 1944 and May 1945. 25 of those targeted Berlin.
S/Sgt. Wesley Lincoln Becher . United States Army Chemical Warfare Service from New York, USA)
POW Camp Fukuoka 17 in Japan
W/O A. C. Bechett . Royal Canadian Air Force 419 Sqd. (d.23rd May 1944)
Sgt. George Henry Beck . Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 15 Sqdn. from Dorchester)
(d.31st July 1943)
Sgt Beck served with 15 Squadron. His Stirling bomber EF428 LS-N, took off from Mildenhall at 22.46 hours for operations to Remscheid. The aircraft crashed at Kleinbroich, 9km east of Monchengladbach. All the crew except for F/Lt Dillicar, who is buried in Rheinburg War Cemetery, have no known graves and are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. The full crew were:
Sgt A.V.E. Cobby F/Lt J.C. Dillicar, pilot F/O B.L. Jackson Sgt G.H. Beck F/Sgt I.G. Ramsay Sgt P.K. Middleton Sgt A.J. Gibbons Lt A.R. Ingle
T/Sgt. Lester Arnold Beck . United States Army Air Force 94th Bomb Group
Lester Beck was shot down over Hanover on 24th July 1943. He was severely wounded and became a POW in Stalag 17B near Krems Austria until the end of war.
W/O Paul Allen Beck . Royal Air Force Bomber Command 57 Squadron from New Zealand)
My father Paul Beck, served with a Lancaster crew out of East Kirkby, Lincs. Other aircrew included Bert Simms (UK), Skip, John Harvey (RepSA), nav. Dad was w/op. One other crew was named 'Swede'. Ops Germany, Berchtesgarten, Ferry allied POWs. Skip highly skilled at flak and cone evasion. Comrades all.
Dvr. Robert Beck . British Army Royal Army Service Corps from Glasgow)
My father, Robert Beck was held in POW camp Stalag XXB. He was a driver in the RASC and captured in the rearguard around Dunkirk. We know that he worked on surrounding farms. He was among those that escaped before the evacuation of the camp in 1945 and taken in by the Russians. My understanding is that he was not happy with his treatment by the Russians and he was actually only repatriated many months after his colleagues who were marched back into Germany and liberated by the Americans. He was from Glasgow and emigrated to Australia in 1958 only to drown unfortunately in 1962.
Bud Becker . United States Air Force 490th Bomb Group from Tallahassee, FL.)
Bill Gamble (wife Bessie) Captain, flew with the 490th Bomb Group from England on bombing missions to Germany in 1944 and 1945. His crew were:
Walter L Benedict (known as Benny) (wife June) Bud Becker,tail gunner,(wife Bonny) Don Winters George Miller (wife Twyler)
Horst Becker . Luftwaffe (d.23rd March 1942)
I work for the Bong Heritage Center (WWII Museum) in Superior Wisconsin. We have had donated the tail fin from a Dornier (Flying Pencil) twin engined, twin tailed bomber. Inscribed on it - "Shot down over Portland England on March 23, 1942 at 2000 hours by the 290th Battery Troop A LAARA (Light Anti Aircraft Royal Artillery) - Sgt Barstow".
We have researched the local Portland Naval Cemetery and found the names of four Luftwaffe killed on that date. Their names are:
Horst Becker Richard Gurklies Gunter Bock Horst Bockel.
If you have any information about this event or the persons involved please contact me, so we may properly display this piece of history.
Leonard Becker . United States Army from Wynnewood, PA)
Leonard Becker was the only member of his 12-man squad who hadn't been killed or wounded as enemy tanks shelled the snowy Ardennes forest during the Germans' last-ditch effort to stop the Allies' advance during World War II. He felt the blow to his helmet and was sure his luck had run out. So when Becker removed his helmet and saw the jagged gash through the metal, he sat back and waited to die. He couldn't bring himself to feel the back of his head. He was pleasantly surprised to find himself still alive 10 minutes after the shell exploded over him. He was evacuated by medics with wounds to his head, face and shoulder.
After his helmet was hit with shrapnel, Becker wondered what he should do. "I remembered that we were instructed to take our sulfa tablets with plenty of water to prevent infection if wounded, so I put several in my mouth and unscrewed my canteen for the water but was frustrated because the water was frozen solid by the extreme cold, I then also remembered that if wounded, we should place a tourniquet between the heart and the wound, so I was going to put one around my neck, but then I realized I might choke." About that time, two Army medics found him and escorted him to the rear, where an ambulance was waiting to take him to a hospital. "And there I witnessed a most unusual sight,I stepped into the ambulance and saw three captured wounded German soldiers with the swastikas on their helmets waiting to also go back to our hospital. Suddenly, the war no longer made any sense to me because if we had encountered each other five minutes earlier, we would have tried to kill each other and now we were exchanging icy glares, I guess that war can make strange bedfellows, but I sure was confused as an 18-year-old Jewish boy from Philly."
He donated his shrapnel-torn helmet to the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia. "As a youngster, you can't wait to see the excitement of action but once you're there, it was just no fun to see buddies hit, some killed and captured." Becker hoped to shoot a camera instead of a rifle when the war broke out. He had been a photographer for magazines and newspapers at Overbrook High School and Temple University and freelanced photos for The Inquirer, so he thought he'd try his hand at it in the Army. It wasn't to be. The Army needed more foot soldiers, and he eventually found himself in the path of a German onslaught that created a bulge the Allies tried to push back
Capt. Milton "Mickey" Becket . United States Army 45th Infantry Division 179th Infantry Regiment from Berwyn, PA)
Milton Becket was assigned to Company A, 179th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division, the Thunderbirds. The regiment was sent to Sicily in 1943 for the beginning of the invasion of Italy. It fought its way up the coast, captured Naples, and in 1944 joined the Allied Anzio Campaign to oust the German army from Rome. Allied forces took possession of the city on 4th of June 1944. Milton was wounded in action, but returned to battle.
The regiment then was ordered to France and advanced into Germany. It captured Aschaffenburg, Nuremberg, and Munich. They crossed the Rhine River into Germany "All you could hear were the motors. We started across the beach, and whango, the fireworks opened up. Machine guns and rifles banged away. We had orders not to get pinned down, so my squad kept going."
Milton received three Purple Hearts for wounds sustained on 10th of March and 6th of May 1944, in Italy, and 26th of Sept. 1944, in France. He also was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious achievement during the fighting in Italy and the Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor for his service in defense of France.
WO 2Cl. Arthur Beckett . Royal Canadian Air Force 419 Sqdn. (d.23rd May 1944)
My uncle was a tail gunner with 419 Sqdn. He was killed in action over Munchen Gladbach when his Lancaster KB717 code VR E was attacked by a German nightfighter on the night of 22nd/23rd May 1944. The entire crew was lost and are buried in Rheinberg War Cemetery, Coll. Grave 3H.18-22.
Sgt Geoffrey Beckett . Royal Air Force 44 Squadron (Rhodesia) from Sheffield, Yorkshire)
(d.17 Dec 1942)
Geoffrey Beckett was my great-uncle. He was born, with his twin sister Jean, on 11 March 1921 in Sheffield, the youngest son of Edward Fisher Beckett and Lottie May Moore. I do not know when Geoffrey signed up, or for how long he had been flying before his death. The information below is gathered from various sources. 17/18 December 1942 Minor Operations: 27 Lancasters of 5 Group were sent on raids to 8 small German towns and 16 Stirlings and 6 Wellingtons of 3 Group attempted to attack the Opel works at Fallersleben. This type of limited operation proved to be a costly failure. 9 of the 27 Lancasters were lost and, at Fallersleben, only 3 aircraft bombed the target, in cloud conditions, and 6 Stirlings and 2 Wellingtons were lost from this part of the night's operations.
Fifty aircraft were dispatched to lay mines from Denmark to southern Biscay - 1 Lancaster was lost - and there were 5 OTU sorties to France. Total losses for the night: 18 aircraft out of 104 dispatched, 1.3 per cent.
I know from checking further that Geoffrey's plane was the Avro Lancaster I, registration W4126, KM-B and that he was based in Waddingham in Lincolnshire. Geoffrey was a Sergeant and was the Air Gunner (mid upper) and the rest of the crew was possibly as follows;
There is some confusion in my mind as originally I had assumed that as Sgt Holmes was buried in the same place, and died on the same date (as per the CWGC site) that he was part of the crew - and this seemed to make sense as he was a navigator, but another site does not include him, but does include Sgt Read. I had always assumed that all of the crew were killed, but I've now discovered that Fl/Eng: Sgt. G.A. Read was a P.O.W. No: 27313 at Camp: Stalag Lamsdorf (344) in Poland. It is understood that W4126 was hit by Kriegsmarine flak and crashed at 18.45 hrs on the island of Texel. Sgt. Read on his release stated that the aircraft was on fire when he baled out. The Germans provided a funeral with full military honours on Tuesday, 22nd December.
- F/O. Lawrence Gerard Lyons McNamara - Pilot
- F/O. Raymond Norman McCleery - Air Obs
- F/O. James William Loree - Air Obs
- Sgt. Kenneth Robert Macleod - Wireless Operator/Air Gunner
- Sgt. Gordon William Jones - Air Gunner (rear)
- Sgt. G A Read - Flight Engineer
- Sgt. Stanley Holmes - Navigator
Sgt. Philip William Joseph Beckett . British Army Border Regiment from Liverpool)
My Dad, Philip Beckett, having been recalled to the colours was with the BEF in Belguim where he was wounded in the lower back by German Machine gun fire. He was then carried on a stretcher all the way to Dunkirk, where he was taken into the care of a French medical unit. He was eventually removed back home via the famous mole, being literally thrown onto a Navy vessel which lay to for barely a minute. He spent over three months in an Edinburgh Hospital before returning to his units HQ at Carlisle Castle; there he met my Mother Sally Gallefor who was working in the Irish Gate Tavern.
R. L. Beckingham .
WCdr. William Donald "Beck" Beckingham . Royal Air Force 105 Sqdn. from 5, The Bye Pass, Ewell)
Capitaine-Commandant. Jacques Jean Charles Becquet CdeG.. Belgian Army from Ixelles, Brabant)
My grandfather Jacques Becquet was born in Brussels 5th August 1894. He joined the Belgian Army as a front line infantry man on 4th April 1911, joining the first Line Regiment. Promoted to Corporal 1st June 1911, to Platoon Sergeant 20th April 1913, to Company Sergeant 5th July 1914, to Sergeant Major 22nd August 1914 and to Colour Sergeant 19th February 1915. Finishing the great War as a Lieutenant in the 21st Line Regiment.
He had two citations for the Great War: "For the Courage and devotion which he showed during his long period at the front" and "An Officer of a calm and cool gallantry, a leader of the highest order, at the front from the beginning of hostilities and outstanding for his imperturbable sangfroid. On 30th September 1918 after a most difficult approach march across soaking, and in some cases flooded, ground and under sustained machine gun fire and artillery fire, he rallied his men and with a superb dash, with himself at their head. rushed an enemy trench; Thus showing the greatest contempt of danger."
He did once recall that he was once buried alive by a shell burst and was most impressed that his men actually came back to dig him out - he reckoned that not too many officers would have been so lucky!!
When Germany invaded Belgium on 10th May 1940 he was called up to defend his country. When Leopold surrendered in an act of capitulation on 28th May 1940, my grandfather refused to capitulate and carried on fighting as part of the Underground Belgian Army hoping to give the BEF more to time to evacuate (Dunkirk 26th May 1940 to 4th June 1940).
He managed to destroy two German tanks before being captured by the Germans on 19th June 1940. Branded a trouble maker he was immediately sent to Colditz Castle POW camp. As Colditz filled up with other nationalities the Belgians were moved to Oflag VII B at Eichstatt, and then to Oflag XD at Hamburg. He retired as a Capitaine Commandant of Reserve (equivalent of a Major in the British Army)
Pvt. Leroy Truman "Roy" Becraft . United States Army Infantry from Missouri, USA)
POW Camp Fukuoka 17 in Japan.
See Hildreth Biography Page where he credits Becraft for his receiving the Navy Cross.
CSM. William Beddingfield MM.. British Army 2nd Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment from Shildon, County Durham)
(d.16th Jan 1944)
Gdsm. Edward John Beddis . British Army 5th Battalion Coldstream Guards from Broadoak, Newnham on Severn, Glos.)
Jack Beddis served with the 5th Battalion, Coldstream Guards.
Pte. Aubert Charles "Ticker" Bedford . Australian Army 2/4 Btn. from Sydney, Australia)
Aubert Charles Bedford (my Dad ) was born on the 19th Oct 1919, at Annandale ,Australia, the youngest son of Walter & Annie Bedford. He enlisted at Victoria Barracks, Sydney on the 5th January, 1940.
I remember Dad telling me how his division got separated in Italy and he soon realised he was surrounded with Germans all around. He did go some time before his capture, local farmers giving him bread and cheese to eat. Dad did say the Germans were better with POW's than the Japanese, His dear and only brother died in Burma Railway at the hands of the Japanese. Finally on his capture, he was sent off to Wolfsberg Stalag 18 POW Camp. He made many friends from England, New Zealand and Australia. One life long friend, his best mate Lyn Phillips, they shared a wonderful friendship not only in the Pow Camp but through out their lives.
One thing I do remember Dad said they created their own Concerts. Dad had the most beautiful voice. He sounded exactly like Bing Crosby! His mates all said he was Bing the 2nd. Ticker Bedford they called him - Aubrey another name! He said the weather in Austria was freezing, certainly nothing like winters in Australia. It would have been awful for 4 years.
Sgt H T Bedford . RAF 12sqd
P/O E. L. Bedford. . 24 Operation Training Unit
I am researching the Roll of Honour for my old school and one casualty was Pilot Officer E.L. Bedford. He took off from Honeybourne in a Whitley bomber belonging to 24 Operations Training Unit (OTU) on 24/25 June 1942 heading for Bremen. OTU s very often flew in missions with a/c crewed by trained crews.
The Whitley was a Mk V serial number Z 9441. The rest of the crew were: Pilot Officer J.A. Preston RCAF, Pilot Officer W.G.W. Lapham and Sergeants C.R. Robertson RCAF and A.E.Owen.
Any information please?
Pte. Bronislaw Bednarski . Polish Army 19th Infantry Regiment from Poland)
My grandfather Bronislaw Bednarski was Polish, had private military rank and was part of the Artillery, 19th Infantry Regiment. He fell into German captivity and was transferred to Stalag II-B (prisoner of war camp), with the prisoner No. 13561 and he was released after the war was over.
Gwen Bedwell . Women's Land Army
Gwen Bedwell served with the Women's Land Army in Hasketon, Suffolk from 1944 to 1948. Anyone remember her?
Pte. William Charles "Joe" Bedwell . British Army 2nd Btn. Royal Norfiolk Regiment
I am trying to find any information on my father, William Bedwell (Joe), who served with the Royal Norfolk Regiment (2nd Btn I think). He was part of the BEF sent to France at the onset of the war. He was susequently captured by the Germans and shipped to a POW camp in Poland, where he stayed until being liberated by the Americans. He was originally from Ipswich. Does anyone remember him?
CSM John Alfred Bedwin . British Army 5th Battalion Cameron Highlanders from Wandsworth)
My father joined the Territorial Army in 1938 (24/10/1938) - Royal Engineers and eventually ended up as a Company Sergeant Major in the 5th Battalion Cameron Highlanders being de-mobbed in 1946 (21/01/1946). Whilst with the Cameron Highlanders he took part in many offensives including the Falaise operation, Goodwood, and on into Germany which included a bayonet charge.
He told me that he was taken to Belsen after its liberation but did not talk any more than that about it.
Sig. William Arthur Bee . Australian Navy HMAS Perth from Australia)
POW Camp Fukuoka 17 in Japan
Paul Beebe . Canadian Army 4th Field Ambulance from Canada)
My father, Paul Beebe, was a Canadian Army medic (4th Field Ambulance) and was taken prisoner in Italy while retrieving wounded. He was a POW at Stalag 7A Mooseburg, Germany. He recalls volunteering for a mission in which 83 emaciated French women were taken from Mauthausen, driven through Switzerland and turned over to the French. He didn't weigh much more than 100 lbs at the time, but he carried one woman to the water pump and he didn't think she weighed half of his weight. He wonders if any of these women survived the horrors of Mauthausen and were able to make any kind of life for themselves.
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