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.