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Harold H Beasley


Beasley's crew claimed to shoot down 4 German fighters on a mission over Paris on 4 April 1943, they then claimed a further fighter on a mission over Antwerp the following day.

Beasley was shot down on 17 April 1943 in B-17 42-5172 'Thunderbird' and killed in Action (KIA). His Plane was attacked by fighters and caught on fire. All other crew except pilots were able to bail out of the back of the plane and became Prisoner of War (POW)s.

Earlier Beasley flew as an observer on B-17F 41-24431 'The Saint'. Accident while taxiing on the runway on 12 February 1943 due to strong winds. All 7 crew members were safe.


Units served with

  • 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars

    91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars

    The 91st Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated at Harding Field, Louisiana on 15-April-1942 and went to MacDill Field, Florida for the first phase of training from 16-May-1942 to 25-June-1942. The Group was then assigned to 2nd Air Force at Walla...

  • 401st Bomb Squadron


  • 41-24431 The Saint

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned 401BS/91BG [LL-G] Bangor 27/8/42; Bassingbourn 11/10/42; detailed mechanical trip to Honington, Sfk. 16/2/43 but crashed on attempted t/o with Earl Riley, Co-pilot: Earl Dosier, Navigator: Roy Schwendiman, Bombardier: Edwin Bush, Flight...

  • 42-5172 Thunderbird, Marnita

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Tulsa 5/10/42; Salina 21/1/43; Assigned 401BS/91BG [LL-Z] Bassingbourn 26/3/43; Missing in Action 4m Bremen 17/4/43 with Harry Beasley, Co-pilot: Walt McLain (2 Killed in Action); Navigator: Harry Sipe, Bombardier: Matt Michaels, Radio...


  • VIII Bomber Command 16

    7 November 1942
    A combined bomber force of 56 B-17s are despatched by 91BG, 301BG and 306BG to bomb the U-Boat pens at Brest, France. This is the first mission flown by 91st Bomb Group. This element is joined by 12 B-24s from 93BG. To aide the attacking bomber force,...

  • VIII Bomber Command 17

    8 November 1942
    Two Primary (P) targets are the objects of this mission: the German airfield of Drucat at Abbeville, France and the Atclier d'Hellemmes locomotive works at Lille, France. 91BG despatches 15 B-17s to Abbeville and 301BG and 306BG despatch a combined...

  • VIII Bomber Command 18

    9 November 1942
    The U-Boat pens at St. Nazaire, France are the target of this mission conducted by a combined force of 33 B-17s from 91BG and 306BG together with a combined force of 14 B-24s from 44BG and 93BG. The B-24 formation bombs from altitudes between 17,500 ft...

  • VIII Bomber Command 20

    17 November 1942
    The U-Boat pens at St. Nazaire, France are the Primary (P) target for a combined force of 49 B-17s despatched from 91BG (20), 303BG (16) and 306BG (13). Another element of 14 B-24s despatched from 93BG also joins the bombing force on St. Nazaire. The...

  • VIII Bomber Command 26

    20 December 1942
    The German Air Depot at Romilly-sur-Seine, France is the Primary (P) target for a combined force of 80 B-17s despatched by 91BG (17), 303BG (21); 305BG (23) and 306BG (19). 60 B-17 are effective on the target, but 7 are MIA and 1 is DBR. ...

  • VIII Bomber Command 29

    13 January 1943
    The primary target for this mission is the Atclier d'Hellemmes locomotive works, associated steel works and the railroad marshalling yards at Lille, France. The attacking force is composed of 72 B-17s from: 91BG (13); 303BG (19); 305BG (23) and 306BG ...

  • VIII Bomber Command 30

    23 January 1943
    The port area and U-Boat pens at Lorient, France are the primary target for this mission. 305th Bombardment Group is selected as the lead group, but condensation on the bombsight of the lead aircraft in the Group prevents the 305BG from bombing Lorient...

  • VIII Bomber Command 31

    27 January 1943
    First successful attack by 8th Air Force into Germany. The 306th Bomb Group gets the distinction of being the first American Bomb Group to drop bombs on Germany. O Original target was Vegesack but clouded over. Col. Frank Armstrong lead the group. Two...

  • VIII Bomber Command 36

    16 February 1943
    The port area and U-Boat pens at St. Nazaire, France are designated as the primary target of this mission of 71 B-17s and 18 B-24s. B-17s are from 91BG (18); 303BG (15); 305BG (18); 306BG (20) of these 59 are effective on the target and 6 are lost....

  • VIII Bomber Command 37

    26 February 1943
    After 10 days of weather related delays of the bomber offensive, a mission is organised with the port facilities of Emden, Germany as the primary target. However, Emden is obscured by cloud cover and all formations divert to attack the port facilities...

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Associated Place

  • Bassingbourn

    Military site : airfield
    Now home to a museum all about the aifield and its USAAF residents ( , Bassingbourn opened in 1938 as part of the RAF's pre-war expansion programme. The RAF continued to use it until late in 1942 when its long...


Event Location Date
Born Andalusia, USA
Killed in Action (KIA) Germany 17 April 1943


Date Contributor Update
19 August 2021 19:15:31 acbernstein1 Changes to mission associations

Date Contributor Update
19 August 2021 00:46:21 acbernstein1 Changes to mission associations

Date Contributor Update
14 August 2021 22:16:02 acbernstein1 Changes to mission associations

Date Contributor Update
10 October 2019 13:04:27 Emily Changes to biography and mission associations

Caption for FRE 686 confirms Beasley participated in missions on 4 & 5 April 1943, and that his aircraft claimed German fighters

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:12:05 AAM AAM ingest

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / MACR 15521 / MACR 15521, Losses of the 8th and 9th Air Forces Vol. 1 pp 75 and 105 by Bishop and Hey, The Ragged Irregulars of Bassingborn p. 38 by Havelaar, WWII National Memorial / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database