Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

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Air Marshal Sir George Beamish (16146)

Sir George Robert BeamishGeorge Robert         b: 29 Apr 1905                        r: 7 Feb 1958                        d: 13 Nov 1967

KCB - 9 Jun 1955 (CB - 8 Jun 1944), CBE 1 Jan 1942, MiD - 1 Jan 1943, MiD - 8 Jun 1944, GI(s)O - 29 Dec 1942, LoM (O) - 10 Mar 1944, Sword of Honour 1924, High Sheriff (Londonderry) 1962.  

For a list of foreign decoration abbreviations, click here

Plt Off:   17 Dec 1924, Fg Off: 17 Jun 1926, Flt Lt: 8 Jan 1930, Sqn Ldr:: 1 Dec 1936, (T) Wg Cdr: 1 Jan 1940?, (T) Gp Capt: 14 Apr 1942 [1 Jan 1940], Act A/Cdre: 1 May 1942?, 1 Nov 1942, (T) A/Cdre: 1 Oct 1944, Gp Capt: 1 Dec 1944, A/Cdre: 1 Jul 1947, Act AVM: 15 Jun 1945 - 1 Apr 1946, AVM: 1 Jul 1950 [1 Jan 1950], Act AM: 15 Sep 1955, AM: 1 Jan 1956,

Sir George Robert Beamish

by Walter Stoneman
bromide print, 9 September 1949
NPG x163972

National Portrait Gallery, London


xx xxx 1923:                Flight Cadet, 'A' Sqn, RAF College. (Cadet U/Off, Athletics, Cricket, Rugby, Hockey, Soccer)

17 Dec 1924:               Pilot, No 100 Sqn.

19 Dec 1928:               QFI, No 3 FTS.

 1 Aug 1929:                Attended Aircraft Engineering Course, Home Aircraft Depot.

 1 Jun 1930:                 Placed on half pay list, Scales B.

 1 Nov 1930:                Attended ? Course, Home Aircraft Depot.

 5  Aug 1932:               Engineering Staff/Instructor, Home Aircraft Depot.

12 Nov 1934:              Officer Commanding, 'C' Flight, No 45 Sqn.

xx Feb 1936:               Officer Commanding, 'B' Flight, No 45 Sqn.

15 Jun - 18 Oct 1936:        Officer Commanding, RAF Detachment, Kenya

xx xxx 1937:                Attended RAF Staff College.

24 Jan 1938:                Air Staff, Deputy Directorate of Intelligence.

13 Apr 1939:               Senior Operations Officer, HQ Palestine & Transjordan.

 2 Jan 1940:                 Air Staff, HQ RAF Middle East.

17 Apr 1941:               Senior RAF Officer, Crete.

xx xxx xxxx:                 Officer Commanding, No ? (Bomber) Wing.

xx Jan 1942:                 Senior Air Staff Officer, Western Desert Air Force.

 1 Mar 1943:               SASO, North African Tactical Air Forces.

xx xxx 1943:                SASO, 2nd Tactical Air Force.

xx Nov 1943:               Air Officer - Training, HQ Air Defence of Great Britain.?

23 Dec 1943:              AOC, No 44 Group.

15 Jun 1945:                AOC, No 45 Group.

 1 Apr 1946:                President. RAF Selection Board.

xx Aug 1947:               Director of Weapons.

 1 Jan 1949:                 AOC & Commandant, RAF College - Cranwell.

 2 Sep 1950:                AOC, AHQ Iraq.

 1 Oct 1952:                 Director-General of Personnel (II).

15 Mar 1954:               AOC in C, Transport Command.

15 Sep 1955:               AOC in C, Technical Training Command.

He was one of four brothers from Northern Ireland, all of whom eventually joined the RAF. A enthusiastic rugby player, he played for Leicester Tigers and was an Irish International player (being capped 26 times) as well a being the chairman of the RAF Rugby Union and an RAF rugby selector, prior to WW2.

Appointed Senior RAF Officer on Crete on 17 May 1941, he was tasked with overseeing the reception of units following their withdrawal and evacuation from Greece.  For this purpose he was allocated two squadrons (30 & 203) from Egypt and the fighter squadrons which until recently had been operating in Greece itself.  However, with the German decision to invade Crete he found himself conducting the defence of the island.  However, he was totally unable to convince the Army Commander that the best means of destroying the invaders was in the air before landing. As a result the success of the German airborne assault soon overwhelmed the British forces and he was forced to order the last RAF aircraft to withdraw back to Egypt on 19 May 1941.  Remaining on the island to assisted the GOC, General Freyburg, eventually escaping with the General aboard a Sunderland in late May.

On his promotion to Acting Air Commodore in 1942, he became the first officer to be trained by the RAF (i.e. with no previous service in the Army/RFC or Navy/RNAS) to achieve air rank.

This page was last updated on 21/06/21

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