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
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)
REASON FOR LOSS:
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.
None, both crew members survived - later as PoW.
Researched by Michel Beckers for Aircrew Remembered - October 2015. Photographs from Michel Beckers collection.