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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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103 Squadron Crest
14.05.1940 No. 103 Squadron Fairey Battle L5446 PM-N Sgt. G. Beardsley

Operation: Sedan  France

Date: 14th May 1940 (Tuesday)

Unit: No. 103 Squadron

Type: Fairey Battle Mk.I

Serial: L5446

Code: PM-N

Base: RAF Bétheniville,  France

Location: Singly, south-west of Sedan, France

Pilot: Sgt. G. Beardsley 565475 RAF Safe (Later-W/O. PoW No: 112 Camp: Stalag Kopernikus)

Air/Gnr:  LAC. George Frederick Lewis DFM. 533360 RAF Safe (Later-Sgt. PoW No: 289 Camp: Stalag Kopernikus)


At 15:30 eight Battles took off to bomb bridges in the Sedan area where they encountered fierce flak and fighter opposition and three aircraft were lost.

Shot down by Bf109s of 1./JG53 during attack on bridge at Mouzon and belly-landed near Singly, south-west of Sedan, 15:40 hrs. Possibly one of those claimed by Uffz. Höhnisch. Sgt. and LAC. Lewis both returned unhurt. This crew returned to their unit three days later having walked some 30 miles. 

(103 squadron had decided that to preserve crews they would operate the Battle with just two crew, flying with no observer/navigator)

25th May 1940: Three Battles took off before noon to attack a German column near Abbeville. It was not found but the aircraft of Sgt. Beardsley was damaged, crash-landed in a forward area. He rejoined the Squadron with his gunner 2 days later having walked 27 miles and then hitched a lift on a motor cycle and side car. This was the second time in 11 days these two airmen had been shot down and managed to get back to the Squadron.

8th June 1940: The same crew, were hit by return fire from Stukas (Battle N2253) for the third time in less than a month crash landed near Paris and captured. 

Burial details:

None, both crew members survived - later as PoW.

Researched by Michel Beckers for Aircrew Remembered - October 2015. Photographs from Michel Beckers collection.

MB 24.10.2015

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Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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