George "Buzz" Beurling - The Top Scoring Canadian

Discussion in 'Biographies' started by liverpool annie, Apr 8, 2009.

  1. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    George Frederick Beurling was born in December, 1921 in Verdun, Quebec, in a very firm Brethren Christians family. He never took on smoking nor drinking. He was a loner, a poor student and definitely not a team player. Almost everything associated with his childhood had one common denominator: desire to fly. He manifested this by haunting the nearby Cartierville airport and making airplane models, which he tried to sell to get money for flying lessons. He started to learn how to fly at the age of fourteen. At sixteen he soloed in Gravenhurst, Ontario, where he went after quitting High School.

    He attempted to join the Chinese Air Force in a fight with the invading Japanese, but was arrested in USA for illegal entry, and deported back to Canada. Then, he tried to join the Royal Canadian Air Force. He was promptly rejected, and he always held a grudge against the RCAF for this. But George was like a young stallion in a stable: jumpy, full of energy, thrusting himself toward the action. When the war broke out, he already had many flying hours in his log. This impressed an official at the Finnish Consulate in Montreal, where young Beurling tried to enlist himself as a volunteer for the Finnish Air Force. However, not being 21 years old yet, he needed permission from his father. Papa Beurling refused to grant it.


    Beurling was the pilot who shot down over Malta Captain Furio Niclot Doglio, C.O. 151a Squadriglia, 20° Gruppo, 51° Stormo, MOVM (Medaglia d'Oro al valor militare = Gold Medal to Military Honour)

    Beurling also wrote an interesting book, printed for the first time on 1944.
    The book was recently reprinted - George Beurling & Leslie Roberts - Malta Spitfire - the diary of a fighter pilot

    Listen to him ....... !!

    Ace Buzz Beurling's flying career

    Broadcast Date: Nov. 13, 1942

    On May 21, 1948 news reaches Canada that Second World War flying ace George "Buzz" Beurling was killed in a plane crash in Rome yesterday. Beurling gained fame for shooting down 31 enemy aircraft while serving with the Royal Air Force and Royal Canadian Air Force. The plane he was piloting crashed shortly after takeoff yesterday. He was hoping to begin a second career flying fighter planes for Israel.

    After the War, Beurling returned to Canada a hero and crossed the country speaking about his experiences while promoting the sale of Victory Bonds. A devout man with a killer instinct, he acquired legendary status as one of Canada's greatest air aces. In this radio excerpt, the daring pilot speaks to CBC Radio about his experiences and the mechanics and rhythm of flying.

    Ace Buzz Beurling's flying career - CBC Archives
  2. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    To many, the name Buzz Beurling may conjure up images of a movie action star or a comic book hero, but to Toronto's Mendy Sharf, Beurling, a former World War II fighter ace, was a hero in the true sense of the word; a hero neglected by his country far too long.

    Toronto man pays tribute to fallen hero in Israel
  3. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Buzz Beurling Is Killed Testing Repaired Plane

    Rome, May 20, 1948 (CP) - George (Buzz) Beurling died today as he had lived - adventurously.
    Canada's greatest flying ace of the Second Great War crashed to death at the controls of a light aircraft which, eyewitnesses said, he had borrowed for an unauthorized joyride. He died as he was about to participate in his latest adventure, fighting in the air for the Jewish cause in Palestine.
    With him died his buddy of the hectic war years, 24-year-old Leonard Cohen of Liverpool. They crashed from 700 feet over Rome's Urbe airfield when the engine failed. The plane burned and when firefighting apparatus reached the scene, was a twisted mass of molten metal. The bodies were burned beyond recognition.
    (A report by Arnaldo Cortesi to the New York Times and The Globe and Mail, gave a different version of the circumstances of the crash )
    According to Cortesi's story, the plane had arrived from Nice two days ago and landed in Rome not only to refuel but also to repair the engine which had some trouble on the way. Repairs were completed this morning and Beurling and Cohen volunteered to test the plane.
    The plane took off normally and everything seemed to be going well. Shortly afterward, however, the engine began to sputter and then stopped altogether. Beurling, who was understood to be at the controls, circled sharply to regain the field and crashed the plane near the entrance to No. 1 hangar. The plane caught fire immediately and burned so fiercely that people present were unable to go to the pilot's assistance. The blaze was eventually brought under control by the airport fire squad, but by that time the pilots had been carbonized.
    There was little doubt of Beurling's identity although police first identified the body of the 26-year-old flying ace as George Beuling of Montreal. Papers listed Beuling's birthdate as Dec. 6, 1921, which checked with Beurling's birth date. The Canadian Embassy in Rome said it had no doubt that Beuling was Beurling, the cool-eyed pilot who shot down 31 enemy planes in the Second Great War. In Montreal Beurling's father, Fred Beurling, said there was little doubt that the man who crashed to death in Rome was his son. Fred Beurling said brokenly:
    "He told me some time ago that he was heading for Palestine, and that is the way I expected his life to end ... in a blaze of smoke from the thing he loved most ... an airplane. It's tragic; it is heartbreaking."
    In Toronto, it was confirmed that Beurling was en route to Palestine. A private Jewish source said that last March 29, Beurling had told him he was to receive $1,000 a month as a combat fighter pilot.
    The ill-fated plane, one of three which arrived here two days ago en route to Israel for use as ambulance aircraft, was a Norseman, a five-passenger transport widely used by Canadian bush pilots. It is produced in Canada and was used by the Canadian, British and United States Air Forces during the war.
    Reuters News Agency said it was registered in the name of David Miller of Roanoke, Va. Reuters added that it had arrived from Nice May 13 and with its companion aircraft, was grounded by the Italian Government until Thursday. The other two planes took off shortly after the crash to continue their flight to Palestine.
    Beurling was not one of the ferry crews which took the planes to Nice from the United Kingdom. He was reported to have been one of a group of fliers waiting in Rome to join the Jewish Air Force. The three planes were to have had a rendezvous with other aircraft in Greece, jumping-off point for Palestine. Beurling had been staying at Rome's Hotel Mediterraneo since May 5.
    Eyewitnesses gave this version of the crash:
    The Canadian ace, holder of many and decorations and known as Screwball to his fellow pilots in the RAF and RCAF, and Cohen were friends of Albert Lewish, who, Reuters said, was the regular pilot of the crashed plane. The two adventurers borrowed the Norseman for a joyride over Rome,
    They were circling Urbe Field when the engine failed. Beurling made a great effort to steady the aircraft but it crashed and burned on the far side of the field.
    Lewish witnessed the crash. Visibly shaken, he took off a short time later in one of the two remaining planes. His immediate destination was Brindisi, Italy.
    G. M, Schuller, Swiss newspaper man who also saw the plane falter and plummet to the ground, said Beurling had told him that he was flying to Palestine for fun. This was characteristic of the Montrealer, for combat flying always was fun to him.
    In Canada some weeks ago he told friends: "I would be glad to get back into combat. I will drop bombs or fire guns for anyone who will pay me."
    In New York, Air Marshal W. A. Curtis, chief of air staff of the RCAF, expressed his regret.
    Air Marshal Curtis, arriving in New York aboard the liner Queen Mary after six weeks in Europe, termed Beurling Canada's No. 1 fighter ace of the Second Great War, "undoubtedly the greatest precision deflection-shot fighter pilot to serve in the British forces."
    Curtis was "very, very sorry to hear of the death of such an outstanding fighter pilot."
    The Air Marshal, it has been said, gained Beurling's respect and liking in the service. Curtis recalled that he once extended some fatherly advice to the adventurous Beurling when the latter was about to leave the service late in the war. He excused Beurling's extracurricular activities which brought, him notoriety by saying that he was after all, only a youngster and inexperienced.
    Curtis, en route to Ottawa after a six-week inspection trip of RCAF installations in the United Kingdom and a tour of Continental Europe, termed his trip fruitful. He landed in England by air with Viscount Alexander, Governor-General of Canada, and received from the King at a Buckingham Palace investiture the Order of Companion of the Bath. In Paris, France conferred upon him the Legion of Honor.

  4. Adrian Roberts

    Adrian Roberts Active Member

    Curtis had been a Camel ace in WW1, with 209 sqdn I believe, so he knew what he was talking about when he praised Beurling's abilities.
  5. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    I was fascinated listening to him ...... weird voice he had !! :)

    I think he must have been reading the interview though !! :D

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