Harold Francis Beamish was educated at Huntley School and Marton & Wanganui Collegiate School. Rejected for service because of weak heart, he travelled to England for second bid and entered the Royal Naval Air Service in 1916, becoming a Flight Sub-Lieutenant on 6 July. Beamish commenced combat duties in France with 3 Naval Squadron on 14 January 1917. Flying Sopwith Pups and Camels he downed 11 German planes and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. He became a flight commander on 25 June 1917 and was promoted to Captain on 1 April 1918. His flying time during the war totaled 48 hours in training and 542 hours in France (355 in the Sopwith Camel). After the war, he farmed at Whana Whana and Hawkes Bay before retiring to Havelock North. Hawkes Bay'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.
Supplement to the London Gazette, 30 November 1917 (30408/12548)