Squadron Leader Clive Beadon's DFC Citation
Squadron Leader Clive Beadon was awarded the DFC as the result of his actions (and those of his crew) while flying a mission with 215 Squadron against the Moulmein-Bangkok railway. The following is the official Citation for his award it makes interesting reading and brings home some of the dangers the air crews had to face.
"An aircraft of the above squadron was carrying out a sortie against locomotives and bridges on the Moulmein-Bangkok Railway at 16.00 hours on 1st January 1945. At milestone 37 the aircraft received a direct hit, at the extreme rear of the fuselage immediately in front of the rear turret, from a concealed Bofors gun site. At the point of entry the fuselage sustained a hole two feet square, and the burst killed the rear gunner, tore away the turret doors, and riddled the fuselage in that area, removed the top turret, damaged the elevators, and started a large fire, which eventually so weakened the structure, that the turret almost fell off.
Sgts Bennett and Hindson who were manning the beam guns were knocked down by the blast, but immediately, and without thought of the exploding ammunition, went into the flames and endeavoured to remove the rear-gunner. Finding that he was dead, they set about extinguishing the fire. This proved to be extremely difficult and dangerous as ammunition was exploding, and hydraulic oil, the gunner's parachute and equipment and feed belts were all well alight. These two were joined by Sgt. Morgan and W/O Cobbe, the latter sustaining burns to the hands while endeavouring to sever the ammunition belts. All extinguishers were used and then bottles of tea and water all exhausted, with the fire still unsubdued. The Captain, S/Ldr. Beadon, having the aircraft under control in spite of the extreme nose heaviness due to the damaged elevators, recalled the second Pilot to take over and came back to assess the damage.
With the assistance of the ball-gunner he removed the rear-gunner, whose clothing was still alight, and made every effort to extinguish the flames from the hydraulic oil pipes. The parachute was thrown out of the aircraft, as well as other burning material. Eventually after three hours, the flames were extinguished and the transfer of fuel from the bomb-bay tank successfully accomplished, and the return journey of over 1,000 miles continued.
It is considered that the aircrew named above showed courage and coolness in the face of extreme personal danger in attempting the removal of the rear-gunner, and in subduing the fire. At no time was there any shirking of duty, signs of panic as the fire remained uncontrolled, or doubt shown that they would eventually reach base. This confidence in their captain reflects greatly to his credit, and the manner in which he has trained them."
Clive Beadon made his name in several other fields after the war which I can maybe relate at a later date.