JN751, W/Cdr Roland P. Beamont, DSO, DFC & bar, CO of No. 150 Wing, RAF Station Bradwell Bay, Great Britain, April 1944
Roland Prosper Beamont was born on August 10, 1920 in Enfield in the County of Middlesex, and aviation captured his imagination at an early age. In 1939, he underwent pilot training and was assigned to No. 87 Squadron, equipped with Hurricanes, where
he flew during the Battle of France and Battle of Britain. From May 1941, he served with No. 79 Squadron, and in December of the
same year, on completion of his tour, he joined the Hawker factory as a test pilot. In June 1942 he joined No. 56 Squadron flying
Typhoons. Subsequently, he was assigned to No. 609 Squadron equipped with the same type as its CO in October 1942. In mid-May 1943, Beamont returned to Hawker, where he took part in trials of the Typhoon and its successor, the Tempest. In February
1944, he was named CO of No. 150 Wing, made up of No. 3, 56 and 486 Squadrons intended to be equipped with the Hawker Tempest. One of the perks of being a Wing Commander was to be allowed to use one´s initials for an aircraft code. W/Cdr Beamont
made use of this privilege and his personal Tempest carried the letters R and B. Beneath the windscreen on the right side of the
fuselage was the Wing Commander insignia.
JN751, W/Cdr Roland P. Beamont DSO, DFC & bar, CO of No. 150 Wing, Newchurch, Great Britain, June 1944
In May 1944, No. 150 Wing was deemed operational, although only Nos. 3 and 486 Sqn were equipped with Tempests, while No. 56 Sqn
had to wait for them until late June 1944 and used the Spitfire Mk. IXs in the interim. The Tempests of No. 150 Wing were tasked with air
cover over the battlefield and attack enemy ground targets at the time of the invasion. Starting from mid-June, the situation changed,
as the protection of southern England from V-1 attacks emerged as a priority and the Tempest was the most suitable aircraft for the
task. At the end of September 1944, the entire unit led by Beamont moved to liberated Europe. On October 12, Beamont´s aircraft was hit
by flak and due to a damaged radiator, the pilot had to belly-land it behind enemy lines. He spent the remainder of the war in captivity.
Over the course of the Second World War, Beamont claimed nine kills and in July 1944 was awarded a bar to his DSO in recognition
of his successful leadership of the Tempest wing which had destroyed more than 600 V-1s (32 by Beamont himself). After the war, he
continued as a test pilot and flew, among others, the Meteor, Vampire, Canberra, Lighting and the, most notably, the impressive TSR-2.
He retired in August 1979 and died on November 19, 2001. Two days before the invasion of Europe, Beamont's aircraft received the prescribed “Special Markings” - 18-inch wide black and white stripes encircling the rear fuselage and wings.
INFO Eduard - December 2021