News Item

Obituary for a navigator

Wg Cdr Bill Beaumont, a WWII bomber navigator, has died aged 92.

The climax to his flying began in August 1945, when he was a navigator with 355 Sqn, based near Calcutta. On a mercy drop to deliver supplies to newly-liberated allied POWs, his Liberator bomber suffered catastrophic engine failure and the crew were forced to abandon the aircraft.

Beaumont found himself alone and without food or water, marooned in the deep jungle and mangrove swamps of the Sundarban forests of the Ganges Delta, his parachute snared in a tree. He succeeded in constructing a small platform and survived on water dripping from the leaves.

As trained, he sprayed a patch of the surrounding jungle with his own urine to mark out his territory and protect himself from wild animals - and after 4 days he was rescued after a passing aircraft spotted his parachute. All the other members of the crew were also recovered.

After the war, he became a keen member of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force. In 1948 he joined No 3507 (County of Somerset) Fighter Control Unit and in 1958, as a Wg Cdr, he commanded No 3609 (West Riding) Fighter Control Unit based at Yeadon. For his services to the Royal Auxiliary Air Officer he was appointed OBE in 1961. In 1962 he joined the Royal Observer Corps and served for a further 13 years, and became a member of the awards committee of the RAF Benevolent Fund for 17 years. In 1990 he became a trustee of the RAF Club and was chairman of the its Dining Society.

Beamont also enjoyed an illustrious varied career as a schoolmaster, clothing manufacturer and civil servant, holding the ancient office of Speaker’s Secretary in the House of Commons. He was appointed CB in 1986.

A full obituary may be found at The Telegraph link below . .

Image from The Telegraph.

  • 04 November 2017
  • RIN

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