Warrant Officer Ted Beswick

Ted was born on 28 Apr 25 at Aston, Birmingham. Educated at Ashton Lane Senior Boys School. After WW11 started he joined the 488 Ashton & Losen ATC Squadron. During the blitz he helped in a first Aid and Rescue team:situated in Litchfield Road. Three times he had to move home after their homes received bomb damage. 122 Church Lane was their third home to be bombed. 70 nearby houses were set on fire twice. Ted helped his father to control and put out incendiary fires. One exploded killing a friend in front of his house. Another hit the Anderson shelter in their garden, fortunately failing to explode.

He joined the RAF in May 1943 as an engine fitter but remustered to Aircrew and was sent to the Aircrew Receiving Centre (A.R.C.) London.

He completed I.T.W. training at Bridlington and then went on to Bridgenorth Elementary Gunner School. Completed his Air Gunnery Training at RAF Stormey Down, Wales.

From there he travelled by troopship across the Atlantic to an Operational Training Unit in Canada. As a trained gunner he manned a gun during the crossing.

In Canada he trained on Liberators in preparation for long range operations in the Far East. This never materialised as he was sent back to Harrogate, England to assist studies by a Medical Team on Endurance. With the Medical Team he completed various tasks until collapsing with fatique. Later he resumed aircrew training. He joined Ivor Soar's crew at Lancaster Finishing School, RAF Syerston. On completion of the course, they were posted to 61 Squadron, RAF Skellingthorpe early 1945.

On the 9th April 1945 he took part in a bombing operation on Hamburg, details as follows.;

Daylight operation to Hamburg Oil Installations.

 25 ME 262s Jet fighters attacked the bomber force just after it left the target.

Pilots from 309 reported shooting down 3 ME 262s and damaging 3.

Ted's Crew: 

Warrant Officer Ivor Soar had been allocated QR-Y.

Take off time 2.30pm. 

They were one of the three 61 Squadron aircraft leading the bomber force as it approached Hamburg.

The enemy Ack-Ack gunners seemed to have correctly estimated the attacking bombers height and were putting up a massive box barrage of flak.

F/Sgt Glyn Rees F/E called out over the intercom  "Gosh nobody will get through there unscathed".

From his position in the Mid-Upper-turret Ted could see the predicted flak gradually catching them up, finally one particular flak shell burst so close to them that it damaged the aircraft's nose. Some flak hitting the Bomb Aimer in the elbow as it flashed through.

With the bombs dropped on their first run the bomb aimer reported a "Hang up' in the bomb bay.  "Ok" replied the pilot "we will go round again". 

A second and a third bombing run was made, however, the bomb would not release. "Right lets go around again" said the B/A.

On hearing this, the pilot said "Not bloody likely it’s too dangerous, lets go home".

A short time after leaving the target 25 German ME 262 Jet Fighters attacked. Ted shouted loud over the intercom  "Corkscrew Port, Go".

Not that it was possible to corkscrew as the bombers were flying in tight formation.

After their first attack the jets throttled back and prepared to attack again. One came up on their beam, Ted aimed and fired, he then watched the tracer bullets from his guns fly straight into the 262. "You got him" called out the flight engineer as smoke appeared from the cockpit of the fighter. Ted then watched the fighter dive down steeply as if out of control, finally disappearing out of his sight. Back at base Ted claimed a probable. In hindsight; despite not seeing the fighter hit the ground, Ted feels certain that he made a kill! The climax to the event was a Mustang making a majestic Victory Roll.

F/Lt Greenfield and crew in QR-J and F/O Berriman and crew in VN-F were both shot down during the attack.

Next day the German press reported that Ober Lieutenant Franz Schall; the pilot who reported shooting down QR-J, was himself killed on the 10th of April 1945. He is buried at Parchin

.... This incident is posted on the internet under the name "Jet attack" by the artist Dave Pentland....

During the return flight desperate attempts were made to release the 'Hang Up' bomb over the North Sea however it would not release. As they landed at RAF Skellingthorpe the bomb dropped with a bang to the bottom of the bomb bay. Why didn't it explode? After turning off the end of the runway the pilot stopped the aircraft and waited for assistance. In time armourers arrived with a bomb trolley, then, risking their own lives, they opened the bomb doors, caught hold of the bomb before it dropped, then gently lowered it down onto the trolley. Very little is said about RAF Ground staff, however, they are the unsung heroes of the RAF. Aircrew owe them a lot.

With the war in Europe coming to an end they took part in 'Exodus' operations, flying to Brussels to liberate British troops. Carried out wastage trips to jettison bombs in the North Sea, 'Cooks Tours' over Germany to view bomb damage and 'Dodge Operations'  to Italy.

61 Squadron and 50 Squadron then moved to Sturgate, sadly for Ted he then had to wave goodbye to his skipper, Ivor Soar, who was moved to RAF Finingley as a pilot instructor.

Ted remained on 61 flying with several different crews.

Once again, the two squadrons were moved, this time to RAF Waddington.

At Waddington he married Kathleen and lived in married quarters there.

He was then posted to 617 squadrons to take part in a good will tour of America.

On completion of 617's goodwill tour he was once again transferred back to 61 squadron.

61, now supplied with the heavier Lincoln Bomber, played its part in the 'Cold War' against Russia. Ted can tell several interesting stories about this period. Unfortunately, they are classified!!

After leaving the RAF in 1949 he joined Rose Brothers (of .5 Turret fame) becoming shop foreman, retiring from Rose Bros at 63. He continued in employment working for the 'National Association Rehabilitation of Offenders' before finally retiring at the age of 65...                                  

In 2005 ted was approached by the BBC to do an interview for a programme called "We'll meet again" to which he agreed. On the 17th March 2005 the BBC arranged for Ted and his family to be taken to Hendon so that he could be interviewed standing in fron of a wartime Lancaster. 

With the interview complete ted and his family were taken toi Heathrow airport and invited to Board an aircraft which was about to depart for Canada. "I can't" ted exclaimed "I don't have a passport". "Yes you do" said his daughter Marylin and handed him one.

Red and his family were then flown to Canada and then on to the high class Westin Hotel in Ottawa. After settling in they were taken to visit the air museum, it was there to his complete surprise, he was greetd by two of his ex Canadian aircrew members, they were Rear Gunner Jimmy Huck and Flight Engineer Harold heppenstall. Walter Mclean, now a doctor, who had flown to Ottowa became ill and had to be taken to hospital so sadly they never met.

Apparen;lty his wife and daughter had been part of the plot to secretly arrange this get together. The BBC arranged for them to saty in Ottawa for a week and to have a number of sight seeing tours whilst they were there

Ted Beswick and Sir Michael Beetham
Cake cutting for the 90th anniversary of the two Squadrons
James Flowers, Ted Beswick, Geoff Gilbert