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British fighter pilot and test pilot for the Royal Air Force during the Second World War, and the years that followed, later becoming chief test pilot for the English Electric Company, where he test flew the Canberra, Lightning, and TSR2.
Beamont's operational career began in 1939, flying Hawker Hurricanes in France as part of the air contingent of the British Expeditionary Force, scoring 3 'kills' against German aircraft. With the withdrawal of British forces from the continent following the fall of France he scored three more kills in the Battle of Britain after which he was involved with night fighting trials with the Hurricane. He also used a matt black Hurricane for intruder and night-time ground attack operations over France. He was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross in June 1941.
In 1944, as acting-wing commander of the first Hawker Tempest Wing, he shot down two Me 109s over the invasion beaches during the D-Day landings. Shortly after D-Day, the wing was switched to intercepting V-1s over Kent, shooting down an incredible 638, Beamont accounting for 32 of the unpiloted-flying bombs himself. On 2 October 1944, he achieved his ninth and final kill of the war when he shot down a Fw 190 near Nijmegen in the Netherlands.
On 12 October 1944, while attacking a heavily defended troop-train near Bocholt on his 492nd operational mission he was shot down, becoming a prisoner of war. He remained a PoW until the end of the war in Europe and was finally repatriated in late May 1945.After the war Beamont resumed his career as a test pilot, carrying out the first test flights of many famous aircraft, including the Canberra and Lightning as well as the later-cancelled BAC TSR-2. In May 1948 he persuaded the US authorities to give him permission to fly one of the only two XP-86 Sabres then built, breaking the sound barrier on his one and only flight in the aircraft, the third person to do so in the XP-86.
This is a very fine First day Cover, commemorating 25 Years of Jet Bomber Training Training at Bassingbourn (27th May 1977). The main panel has been signed in blue ink by Roland Beamont, and there are also two unidentified signatures in ink (presumably members of the crew who carried the cover in a Canberra T4 on a cross-country training flight). In very good condition.