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Duane Willard Beeson

Military

Duane W Beeson joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1941, by February 1942 he had completed over 200 hours of flying and was transferred to Britain to join No. 71 (Eagle) Squadron, RAF 24 days later he joined the 4th Fighter Group in September 1942. By October 1942 Beeson had become the first Ace of the 4th Fighter Group. He was shot down during a mission on 5 April 1944 and taken Prisoner of war. He was liberated in April 1945, and on his return to the United States sought transfer to the Pacific Theatre of Operations, but the war in the Pacific came to an end before he was assigned. Following the War Beeson was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel and based in Sarasota, Florida where he met his wife- Tracey Waters, whom he married in 1946. In 1947, aged 25 Beeson died after contracting a brain tumor. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Flew 240 hours with RAF. Transferred to 8th AF September 1942. Second highest scoring pilot in ETO before being shot down. Crashed near Brandenburg on 5 Apr 44 in P-51 'Boise Bee' #436819 Prisoner of War (POW). Credited with 24 enemy aircraft destroyed.

DSC/ DFC w/ 6 Oak Leaf Cluster/ SS/ POW

17.33

Service

Units served with

  • 8th Air Force

    8th Air Force

    Command

  • 4th Fighter Group

    4th Fighter Group

    Group
    Some of the pilots of the 4th Fighter Group had seen many hours of combat by the time they joined the 4th Fighter Group as they had volunteered with the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Royal Air Force. The three 'Eagle Squadrons' of RAF Fighter...

  • 334th Fighter Squadron

    334th Fighter Squadron

    Squadron
    The 334th Fighter Squadron was the successor to No. 71 Eagle squadron of the Royal Air Force when the 4th Fighter Group was activated on 12 September 1942. They were based at Debden Field, Essex. The "Fighting Eagles" as they were called, flew...

  • No. 71 'Eagle' Squadron

    No. 71 'Eagle' Squadron

    Squadron
    'On 19 September 1940, No. 71 was reformed at Church Fenton as the first 'Eagle' Squadron to be manned by American personnel. The Squadron received Hurricanes in November and became operational on defensive duties on 5 February 1941. No. 71 converted...

Aircraft

  • 43-6819 'Bee'

    P-51 Mustang
    Assigned to 334FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to return, A/C shot down by flak strafing Brandenburg, pilot Major Duane W Beeson POW. 5-Apr-44. MACR 3606.

  • 42-7890 BOISE BEE

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    Beeson's first victory came in a P-47C, but his second (a Bf 109) came in this machine on the very day he was assigned to the 334th Fighter Squadron - 26 June 1943. ...

  • 41-6195

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    Assigned to 334FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF. Transferred to 551st Fighter Training Squadron 495th Fighter Training Group 8AF USAAF. During formation immelman manoeuvre, aborted manoeuvre and in recovery A/C stalled and 'flicked' into a spin. Pilot baled out from...

  • EN915

    Spitfire
    Spitfire Mk Vb EN915 was built at the Vickers-Armstrong aircraft factory, Castle Bromwich, and delivered to the RAF at 37 Maintenance Unit, Burtonwood, on 17 May 1942. It was issued to 154 Squadron at Hornchurch on 12 June 1942. During its time with...

  • AB975

    Spitfire
    Supermarine Spitfire AB975 Mk Vb, Built at Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory. ...

  • AB899

    Spitfire
    Supermarine Spitfire AB899 Mk Vb, Built at Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory. ...

  • BL422

    Spitfire
    Supermarine Spitfire BL422 Mk Vb, Built at Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory. ...

  • AD464

    Spitfire
    Supermarine Spitfire AD464 Mk Vb, Built at Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory. ...

  • BL376 'Stinky'

    Spitfire
    Supermarine Spitfire BL376 Mk Vb, Built at Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory. ...

Associated Place

  • Debden

    Military site : airfield
    RAF Debden, construction of which began in 1935, is perhaps most famous as a Battle of Britain fighter airfield, partly responsible for the defence of London in 1940. In 1942 it was also home to three RAF 'Eagle Squadrons’ of volunteer American pilots...

  • Kirton-in-Lindsey

    Military site : airfield
    Used as an RFC and RAF Home Defence landing ground during the First World War, Kirton-in-Lindsey was built during 1938-40 as an RAF fighter station. It had two grass runways, 10 hardstandings, three grouped C hangars and four over-blister hangars....

Events

Event Location Date
Born Boise, Idaho, USA 1922
Enlisted Vancouver, BC, Canada 23 June 1941

Royal Canadian Air Force

Prisoner of War (POW) Germany 5 April 1944 – April 1945

Prisoner of War (POW) #436819.

Died 13 February 1947
Buried

Arlington National Cemetery.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
11 May 2016 22:03:04 WD-C Mustang Changes to media associations
Sources

Associated media already in DB

Date Contributor Update
03 October 2015 18:28:30 Al_Skiff Changes to events, unit associations and place associations
Sources

AAM DB entry.

Date Contributor Update
21 March 2015 19:23:34 apollo11 Changes to nickname
Sources

Personal research & 'The Debden Warbirds' by Frank Speer.

Date Contributor Update
03 March 2015 19:32:48 apollo11 Changes to biography and awards
Sources

Personal research & 'Eight-One Aces of the 4th Fighter Group' by Frank Speer.

Date Contributor Update
03 October 2014 14:26:46 Emily Changes to middlename, highest rank, biography, awards, events and place associations
Sources

Ted Damick, VIII Fighter Command pilots list

Freeman, The Mighty Eighth, p. 276

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:07:49 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / Fighter Aces of the U. S. A. and Mustang Aces of the Eighth Air Force; Who's Who in the Eighth Air Force and/or Biographical Directory Command & Staff Officers Eighth Air Force 1942-45 MACR 3606 / MACR 3606 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database / Ted Damick, VIII Fighter Command pilots list

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