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Today in History

Name: Harold Francis "Kiwi" Beamish
Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) Harold Beamish
Country: New Zealand
Rank: Captain
Service: Royal Naval Air Service
Royal Air Force
Units: 3N (RNAS)
203 (RAF)
Victories: 11
Born: 07 July 1896
Place of Birth: Havelock North, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
Died: 26 October 1986
Place of Death: Havelock North, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
The son of George Richard and Edith Maud Beamish, Harold Francis Beamish was educated at Huntley School and Marton & Wanganui Collegiate School. Rejected as unfit for active service because of weak heart, he travelled to England for a second bid at service and entered the Royal Naval Air Service in June 1916, becoming a Flight Sub-Lieutenant on 6 July. Beamish commenced combat duties in France with 3 Naval Squadron on 14 January 1917. He scored his first victory flying a Sopwith Pup on 23 April 1917 and became a Flight Commander on 25 June 1917. Becoming an ace by the end of the year, Beamish scored four more victories with the Sopwith Camel and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. On 1 April 1918, he was promoted to Captain and then scored six more victories in the month of May. His flying time during the war totaled 48 hours in training and 542 hours on the Western front (355 in the Sopwith Camel). Post-war, he returned to New Zealand and farmed sheep at Whana Whana, as his father had done, before retiring to Havelock North. New Zealand's last surviving WWI fighter pilot, Beamish was 90 years old at the time of his death.
Distinguished Service Cross (DSC)
Flt. Lieut. Harold Francis Beamish, R.N.A.S.
   In recognition of his services with a Wing of the R.N.A.S. at Dunkirk between January and September, 1917, during which time he has destroyed several hostile machines and driven down numerous others.
Date Time Unit Aircraft Opponent Location
1 23 Apr 1917 0630 3N Sopwith Pup (N6202) Albatros D.III (OOC) Near Croiselles
2 27 Jul 1917 1415 3N Sopwith Camel (N6377) Seaplane (DES) 1 Near Ostend
3 05 Sep 1917 1840 3N Sopwith Camel (N6377) Albatros D.V (OOC) SE of Middelkerke
4 10 Sep 1917 1800 3N Sopwith Camel (N6377) DFW C (CAP) 2 Furnes
5 23 Sep 1917 1100 3N Sopwith Camel (N6377) Albatros D.V (OOC) Middelkerke
6 03 May 1918 1135 203 Sopwith Camel (B3855) Fokker DR.I (OOC) Near Neuve-Eglise
7 09 May 1918 1140 203 Sopwith Camel (B3385) Fokker DR.I (DES) E of Herlies
8 15 May 1918 1145 203 Sopwith Camel (B3855) LVG C (DES) 3 Salome
9 16 May 1918 1120 203 Sopwith Camel (B3855) Pfalz D.III (DES) N of La Bassée
10 17 May 1918 1120 203 Sopwith Camel (B3855) Albatros D.V (DES) 4 S of Merville
11 18 May 1918 1120 203 Sopwith Camel (B3855) Rumpler C (DESF) 5 Merville

1 Shared with FCdr Joseph Fall, FSL James Glen, FSL Louis Bawlf, FSL Aubrey Ellwood
2 Shared with FCdr R F Redpath (B3785), FSL Edward Hayne, FSL G Harrower (B3782), FSL George Anderson
3 Shared with Lt W W Goodnow (B7198), Lt A N Webster (B3788), Lt John Breakey, Lt H W Skinner (B7231), Lt Edward Hayne
4 Shared with Lt W W Goodnow (B6212), Lt Ronald Sykes, Lt John Breakey, Lt H W Skinner (B7231)
5 Shared with Lt John Breakey
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