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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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416 Squadron Spitfire XVI SM277 DN-Y F/O. Joseph Ronald Beasley

Operation: Patrol

Date: 24th December 1944 (Sunday)

Unit: No. 416 Squadron (motto: Ad Saltum paratus 'Ready for the leap')

Type: Spitfire XVI

Serial: SM277

Code: DN-Y

Base: ALG B.56 Evere (Haren) Belgium

Location: 2 miles west of Eibertingen, Belgium

Pilot: F/O. Joseph Ronald Beasley J/23867 RCAF Age 24. Killed


12 aircraft took off on a patrol at 12:48 hrs. Fl/Lt. Neil Gillespie Russell J/8136 flying Spitfire SM276 returned at 12:55 hrs with a problem with his radio. The remainder flew over St-Vith to bomb concentrations of troops and destroying equipment.

Anti-aircraft fire was intense but mostly from units of the Americans who tragically hit 5 of the Spitfires!

Spitfire XVI SM228 Flown by Sgt. John George Mark Patus J/93564. Shot down at the same time as F/O. Bealey. Incredible that he remained in the cockpit for two days until discovered by US army GI. It is thought that others just went pass the wreckage believing no on could have survived. He was sent back to Canada in a complete body cast with broken neck, on the Queen Mary Hospital Ship. (1)

Spitfire XVI SM331 Flown by Fl/Lt. Robert Dulmage Phillip J/16145. Forced landed at 14:35 hrs. at B.56 (2)

Spitfire XVI SM335 Flown by P/O. Lawrence Esmond Spurr J/91114 R/176504. Crash landed behind allied lines at 14:00 hrs. (3)

Spitfire XVI SM308 Flown by F/O. Joseph Fernand Guy Henri Picard J/22883. Crash landed at 15:15 hrs at B.56. (4)

Above L-R: F/O. Joseph Beasley, Sgt. John Patus, P/O. Lawrence Spurr, Fl/Lt. Robert Phillip and F/O. Joseph Picard.

(1) John George Mark Patus - survived the war. Born in Welland, Canada. Worked as a mining engineer in northern Ontario where he met his wife, Iris. They were married and returned to Welland where he worked as a purchasing manager. John was an avid golfer and enjoyed donating his time helping minor hockey. Died peacefully on the 07th August 2006

(2) Robert Dulmage Phillip DFC. - survived the war. Nickname 'Dagwood'. Born on the 05th April 1921 in York, Toronto. Son of John Mclean Phillip (died 1956, age 68) and Amy Edna (née Ketcheson - died in 1979, age 87). He continued his passion for aviation and concluded his career after many years of both corporate and government service. Married Margaret Ramona Phillip (née Vincent - died 2018, age 97). Passed away on the 29th November 2011, age 90. Mickle Memorial Cemetery, Gravenhurst, Ontario, Canada.

(3) Lawrence Esmond Spurr DFC. - survived the war. Then joined 25th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, 51st Fighter Intercept Group to fight in Korea. Credited with the destruction of one MIG-15 aircraft in serial combat at 1010I on 14 July 1952 near Yongsansi, Korea. Leading a flight of four F-86 aircraft, Fl/Lt. Spur observed a flight of ten MIG-15s. After the initial contact the MIGs split. Fl/Lt. Spurr positioned himself on one of them. Fl/Lt. Spurr began firing, observing hits in the tail section. Pieces were seen coming off the MIG and it began smoking. When the MIG was last observed, it was not taking evasive action and the pilot appeared to have been killed. Husband of Antoinette Irene Spurr (née Stokes - died 03rd May 2018, age 90) in Mississauga, Ontario. Brother of Jane, Deborah and Mark Spurr.The couple lived and traveled throughout Europe and North America in the ‘50s and ‘60s, retiring to Middleton, Nova Scotia in 1970. Lawrence Spurr was killed in a car accident in 1973.

(4) Joseph Fernand Guy Henri Picard - survived the war. Born in Montreal on the 03rd April 1917. Son of Wilfrid Picard and Alexina (née Desnoyers - married 12th October 1897). Studied in Montreal at Saint-Joseph, Saint-Nicolas and Saint-Viateur schools. schools.Worked at the Canadian Bank of Commerce from 1936 to 1938, at B. F. Goodrich Rubber Co. in 1938 - 1939 and Retail Credit Co. in 1939 - 1940. Joined 416 squadron on the 29th Septembre 1944. Passed away on the 01st October 1986, age 69.

Burial and other details:

The original grave of the pilot was discovered next to the wreckage of his aircraft. It was established in 1946 by the Missing Research and Recovery Unit on the 21st June 1946 and his remains recovered for reburial at Leopoldsburg. The wreckage scattered over 100 yards carried the squadron code and serial number. The grave was marked with a simple wooden cross with no inscription. They were unable to establish who buried the pilot.

F/O. Joseph Ronald Beasley. Leopoldsburg War Cemetery. Grave VII.A.10. Born on the 18th October 1920 in Ottawa. Member of Ottawa Flying Club. Enlisted on the 18th September 1939 in Ottawa. Son of John (died 17th January 1953, age 66. Served in the Royal Sussex Regiment during WW1, wounded and lost a leg) and Susan Theresa Beasley (née Walsh - died 07th January 1967) of 147 - 5th Avenue Apartments, Ottawa, Ontario of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Husband of Margaret Irene Beasley (married 18th September 1942), father of Carol Lynn (born 01st March 1944) of 86 Balsam Street, Ottawa. Canada. Epitaph: 'Till The Day Break'.


AC1. William Harold Beasley R/188567 RCAF Age 31. Ottawa Cemetery (Pinecrest) . Family Plot. North half 137. Sec. M. Grave 1. Born on the 19th January 1913 in Ottawa, Ontario. Enlisted on the 28th August 1942. Husband of Lola Catherine Beasley (née Hutt), of 47 Cameron Road, Ottawa, Canada. Epitaph: 'Until The Day Break'.

Details of his accident:

While loading bombs on an Anson aircraft on the line at RCAF Mountain View at 21:30 hrs. On the 12th June 1944, a bomb exploded close to the airman. The ambulance was summoned immediately and went to the line forthwith. The airman was found lying on the ground, under the starboard wing of the aircraft. He had sustained a large, deep, lacerated wound of the right femoral triangle, another deep, lacerated wound at the outer aspect of the left lower leg, and other minor wounds.

He was unconscious and in profound shock. Bleeding was stopped by pressure bandaging and he was brought to the station sick quarters iimmediately following this first aid care.

Uon arriving at hospital the patient was livid, cold and clammy. His pulse could not be detected and an attempt to take his pressure was unsuccessful. This attempt was made by the Ward Master. The patientts veins were collapsed. His pupils were widely dilated and did not react to light.

He was unconscious throughout. He had irregular periods when he would thrash his arms about. try to raise himself from the bed and appeal for help. These later gave way to less vigorous attempts to help himself and incoherent muttering. The pulse taken at the apex by stethoscope was 150. The heart sounds were of poor quality but were regular. The respiration was shallow and rapid. The patient was treated for shock and was given 1500 c.c.'s of blood plasma. Coramine was administered the patient having received morphine on the line. At 22:05 hrs the heart sounds became very weak, rate rapid and Cheyne-Stokes respiration appeared. At 22:15. hrs.he expired. The pressure bandaging effectively stopped the haemorrhage from the patient's wounds. Death was due to profound shock.

1- F/O. Chris Preston J/44034, 2- F/O. Gordon McKenzie Hill J/37340, 4- F/O. Ken J. Williams J/9261, 5- F/O. Jack Leyland J/26993, 6- F/O. Keith Forbes Scott J/21239, 7- F/O. Steve H. Straub, 8- P/O Charles Darrow, 9- Fl/Lt. Lawrence Esmond Spurr J/91114, 10- F/O. Ber Edward Parry J/14717, 11- F/O. C.W. Haines J/49322, 12- Fl/Sgt. N.M. McGregor R/193516, 13- F/O. L.P. Comerford, 14- Fl/Lt. Neil Gillespie Russell J/8136, 15- F/O. William Irvine Gordo J/6718, 16- Sq/Ldr. John Davidson Mitchener J/16799, 17- Sq/Ldr. John Frederick McKiroy J7230, 18- F/O. Gordon A. Cameron J/16949, 19- F/O. Vernon W. Mullen, 20- F/O. Louis J.R. Jean, 21- F/O. S.A. Round J/42360, 22- F/O. W. L. McCallum J/37906, 23- F/O. Walter Norman Douglas J/2933, 24- F/O Joseph Fernand Guy Henri Picard J/22883 and 25- P/O. W.G.D. Roddie J/86972

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to the Government of Canada, National Archive, Kew AIR-27-1816-23/24. All Spitfire Database. John Patus, Paradie Archive.

Other pages that may interest you:

Pages regarding 1944 losses

Pages detailing RCAF losses

Other sources as quoted below:

KTY 25-10-2023

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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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