03/04.04.1944 No. 37 Squadron Wellington X LN853 LF-Z Sq/Ldr. Beale
Operation: Manfred Weis Armaments factory
Date: 03/04th April 1944 (Monday/Tuesday)
Unit: No. 37 Squadron 231 Wing. 205 Group. (Mediterranean Allied Strategic Air Force)
Type: Wellington X
Base: Foggia No. 2 Tortorella, Italy
Location: Rácalmás, Dunapentele (now known as Dunaújváros), Hungary
Pilot: Sq/Ldr. Heathcote Huia Butler Beale DFC and Bar. NZ/41465 RNZAF Age 27. Injured (1)
Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Charles William lan Jeffrey 656342 RAFVR Age 24 PoW
Nav: F/O. Felix Aloysius Sullivan 128403 RAFVR Age 24. Killed
Air/Bmr: F/O. Harry Galloway Dean 52930 RAF Age 31. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Arthur Keva Newman 1267317 RAFVR Age 22. PoW No: 3552 Camp: Stalag Kopernikus
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Arthur Griffith 993805 RAFVR Age 23. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off from RAF Foggia, Italy at 20:44 hrs. to bomb the Manfred Weis Armaments factory in Budapest. 79 Wellingtons took part on this operation together with 8 Liberators. 5 Wellingtons were lost during this first night operation on Budapest.
The Americans were to bomb the railway stations just prior to the Wellingtons. They missed their target but hit the Fanto oil refinery close by which lit up the area. Civilian casualties were high, with over 600 killed.
Other aircraft lost to night fighters were a 150 Squadron Wellington LN858 JN-Y near Keszthely on Lake Balaton. Flown Sgt. George Gordon Pemberton 1388192 RAFVR died of his injuries, remaining 4 PoW. Further details.
Right: Sq/Ldr. Heathcote Huia Butler Beale DFC and Bar
104 Squadron Wellington LN925 EP-G at Herceghalom 00:16hrs. Flown by 26 year old, P/O. Eric William Green AUS/421871 RAAF (taken PoW with 2 of his crew, sadly 2 killed - both claimed by Fw. Herbert Ludwig also from 6./NJG101.
Lt. Charles Davie 328545v SAAF Flying Wellington LN976 LF-M, killed with all 4 other crew. No details of location but thought to have been over Yugoslavia.
The final aircraft lost was 40 Squadron Wellington JA511 BL-Y flown by 19 year old, Fl/Sgt. Leo John Redden AUS/416786 RAAF, hit by flak but on return trip lost an engine and they were forced to ditch off Termoli. All 5 crew were rescued by an ASR Walrus. The pilot suffered a broken arm and concussion.
Wellington LN853 was shot down over area shown by Fw. Herbert Ludwig of 6./NJG101, his 5th claim of 7 during the war, making him an 'Ace'. He was killed on the 24th April 945 by American anti-aircraft fire. (information courtesy Kracker Archive on this website)
(1) The pilot was recovered from the Danube and found to be seriously injured with a broken back. He was taken to the German Military hospital at Zemun, Belgrade. Sadly, despite treatment he died of his injuries on the 08th April 1944. A catholic priest informed the allies post war that he had buried the pilot in the Catholic Cemetery, but that it had been unmarked.
Initially buried at Dunapentele (Dunaújváros) Cemetery. Sq/Ldr. Beale buried in the Catholic Cemetery at Zemun in Belgrade. However, post war his grave could not be identified which is why he is remembered on the Malta Memorial.
Sq/Ldr. Heathcote Huia Butler Beale DFC and Bar. Malta Memorial Panel 16, Column 1. Born on the 10th September 1916 at Waipiro Bay, Gisborne, the son of Arthur Merritt Beale, and of Ema Reremoana (nee Brown, later Williams) Beale, of Te Puia Springs, Auckland, New Zealand. His mother remarried a Mr. Arnold Beetham Williams, two brothers also served, but in the army. The oldest brother, 31 year old, Trooper Arnold Kenneth Beale Williams 16452 lost his life on the 13th January 1945. At the time he was serving with New Zealand Armoured Corps. The other, Desmond Ormonde Butler Beale 41586 served in the LRDGA, he survived the war. Heathcote Beale worked as a shepherd prior to enlisting on the 18th January 1941. A total of 920 flying hours logged and on his 65th operational sortie. This was his second tour, the first with 104 Squadron RAF.
F/O. Felix Aloysius Sullivan. Budapest War Cemetery Grave I.A.2. Son of Peter and Agnes Sullivan, of Uddingston, Glasgow, Scotland. B.Sc. Grave inscription: 'Eternal Rest Give Unto Him, O Lord; And Let Perpetual Light Shine Upon Him. R.I.P'.
F/O. Harry Galloway Dean. Budapest War Cemetery Grave I.A.1. Son of Stephen and Susannah Dean and husband of Margaret Kidd Dean, father of Stephen, of Burghmuir, Perth, Scotland. A.C.I.I. Worked as an Insurance accountant prior to enlisting. Grave inscription: 'How Bright These Glorious Spirits Shine!'.
Sgt. Arthur Griffith. Budapest War Cemetery Grave I.A.3. Born on the 11th September 1920 in Chester, the son of Henry R. and Elizabeth Griffith, of Saltney, Chester, England. Prior to enlisting as soon as he was 18 on the 12th September 1938, he worked as a shipbuilder. Grave inscription: 'Affectionately Remembered By His Family. Queen Of The Holy Rosary, Pray For Him'.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Jenifer Lemaire and to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, Weekly News of New Zealand, Beale/Williams family, grave photographs courtesy C.J Biller on Find A Grave, other sources as quoted below: