Warrant Officer JOHN FRANK BECKETT

Serviceman Headstone image Serviceman grave marker serviceman image
Rank Warrant Officer
Forenames JOHN FRANK
Surname BECKETT
Initials J F
Place of Birth Unknown
Date of Birth Unknown
Date of Death Friday, 17 April 1942
Age 22
Nationality British
Residence or Entered Service From OXFORD, OXFORDSHIRE, UNITED KINGDOM
Service Number 120331
Force Royal Air Force
Service/Corps/Regiment Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Unit / Ship / Battalion / Squadron 44 (Rhodesia) Squadron, Royal Air Force
Military Honours and Awards DISTINGUISHED FLYING MEDAL (DFM)
Place of Burial/Commemoration BEAUMONT-LE-ROGER COMMUNAL CEMETERY
Roll of honour
Grave/Memorial Location Grave 14.
Previous Place(s) of Burial Unknown
Epitaph IN OUR HEARTS HE IS WITH US FOREVER
Family Details SON OF HAROLD WILLIAM AND ETHEL MAY BECKETT; HUSBAND OF ETHEL MARY BECKETT, OF OXFORD.

Additional Information

Commonwealth War Graves Commission records states his rank is Pilot Officer. War Diary records state his rank is Warrant Officer.

 

Warrant Officer JOHN FRANK BECKETT was pilot and 1 of 7 crew on board Avro Lancaster Mk I, L7565 KM-V, with 44 Squadron, Royal Air Force taking off at 15.12 hrs from RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire, England, United Kingdom.1

 

Their mission was daring daylight bombing raid on the diesel-engine manufacturing workshop building in the M.A.N. factory at Augsburg on the 17th April 1942. Of the 12 Avro Lancaster bombers from 44 Squadron and 97 Squadron that carried out the raid, 4 Lancasters were shot down en route to their mission objective. This included Avro Lancaster Mk I, L7565 KM-V. A further 3 Avro Lancaster bombers were shot down near their target. Despite these heavy losses the operation was succesful in destroying their target.2

 

The crew of Avro Lancaster Mk I, L7565 KM-V were shot down by fighters as they flew near the boundary of Beaumont le Roger airfield, in Eure, Normandy with the 5 other aircraft from 44 Squadron. Unfortunately for the bomber crews a group of Messerschmitt Bf 109's and Focke-Wulf Fw 190's of II Gruppe/ Jagdgeschwader 2 Richthoffen were in various stages of landing at the airfield, following an engagement in the Cherbourg area with some of the diversionary Royal Air Force raids. Spotting the Avro Lancaster bombers the German fighters gave chase. Avro Lancaster L7565 KM-V was the first casualty, shot down by Hauptmann Heine Greistart, and the aircraft crash landed into trees at le Tilleul-Lambert, Eure, Normandy, France. All the crew were killed and were buried in the Beumont-le-Roger some 8.1 miles (13 kilometres) East of Bernay.4

 

The 7 men of Avro Lancaster MK I, L7565 KM-V were:

 

Warrant Officer JOHN FRANK BECKETT DFM

Sergeant BRIAN DOUGLAS MOSS

Flight Sergeant ALFRED EDGER ROSS, Royal Canadian Air Force

Sergeant BRYDEN GEORGE SEAGOE

Sergeant JOHN HENRY HACKETT

Sergeant RICHARD LATTIMORE TRUSTRAM

Sergeant ALFRED JAMES HARRISON

 

References
1. Research Carl Shilleto, sources: Royal Air Force Bomber Command Losses of the Second World War Vol:3 Aircraft and Crew Losses 1942, p.72, by W R Chorley, Midland Publishing. Published 1994.
2. Research Carl Shilleto, sources: from Middlebrook, Martin and Chris Everitt. The Bomber Command War Diaries; An Operational Reference Book 1939-1945. pp.258. Midland Publishing. Published 1996.
3. http://www.raf.mod.uk/history/bombercommandaugsburg17thapril1942.cfm.
4. Research Carl Shilleto, sources: Royal Air Force Bomber Command Losses of the Second World War Vol:3 Aircraft and Crew Losses 1942, p.72, by W R Chorley, Midland Publishing. Published 1994.

 

Acknowledgements and Credits
Source of original data: Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Headstone photograph: Carl Shilleto
Cross marker photograph:  
Individual photograph:  
Additional photographs provided by:  
Additional information provided by: Carl Shilleto

 

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