Thame Remembers Flying Officer Anthony Austin Beard
Anthony Austin Beard was born on 19th June 1923 in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, the son of Oscar and Ida Madeleine Beard (nee Barnes). The family moved to Thame in 1937 and lived at 17 Broadwaters Avenue.
Tony attended Great Haseley school and on leaving studied to become a toolmaker. As a toolmaker he was in a reserved occupation but insisted on his release to serve his country and Tony joined the RAF in 1942.
Thanks to Captain F.B. Mitchell, he received able coaching in his preparation for joining the RAF and as an airman was showing every indication of a successful career, in that he made unusual and rapid strides in the course of his service.
He passed all his exams and enlisted as aircrew. After a period of training in England, he went to Canada for his flying training in Tiger Moths and soon gained his wings, followed which he was granted a commission as a Pilot Officer.
On returning to England, he was again promoted, this time to Flying Officer. Tony had passed with distinction and rather than being posted to front line service he was sent to RAF Little Rissington in Gloucestershire as a flying instructor.
On 24th September 1944 he was flying an Airspeed Oxford in bad weather when he suffered a flying accident and was killed. In a communication from the deceased’s commanding officer to his parents , it was said he was an excellent instructor, and a great asset to his comrades.
He was buried with full military honours in St Mary’s Churchyard Thame on 28th September 1944 aged just 21 years. He is remembered on Thame war memorial and on St Mary’s Church memorial board
The Thame Remembers Cross was delivered to St Mary’s Churchyard, Thame on 03rd August 2014 by Peter Beard (his brother)