The Airmen's Stories - F/O E W Beardmore
Eric Walter Beardmore of Montreal, Canada was born in Berlin, Germany on 29th August 1911, where his father, George Lissant Beardmore, was an opera singer (see below).
Beardmore attended Ashbury College, Ottawa from 1921 to 1930 and was one of the school's outstanding athletes, playing in the First Cricket Team for four years and on the first teams in football, hockey and soccer.
He served for five years in the Victoria Rifles in Montreal before transferring to the RCAF on 1st September 1937. He was with No. 1 (RCAF) Squadron when it arrived in the UK on 20th June 1940.
Beardmore was shot down in combat over the Thames Estuary on 18th September In Hurricane I P3859. He baled out, slightly wounded.
Repatriated to Canada in March 1941, Beardmore formed 118 (RCAF) Squadron at Rockliffe, Ottawa. He was released from the RCAF on 18th October 1945 as a Wing Commander.
Postwar he lived in Vancouver, British Columbia and was active in golf, tennis and squash club organizations. He was a director of the British Columbia Lions.
He died on 23rd August 1966.
George Lissant Beardmore was born on 16th July 1877 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Possessing a distinctive singing voice from an early age he was sent to Europe to study music at academies in Dresden and Paris. He returned to Canada while in his early twenties.
He married in 1905 and was expected to join the family leather business. He continued to sing at church services but this resulted in offers from concert promoters and he was eventually drawn to returning to Europe to train as an opera singer.
Arriving in London, it is believed that he performed in Covent Garden before King Edward VII. He went on to start his career in 'Tannhauser' on 14th May 1911 at the opera house in Hirschberg, Germany.
In 1914, when World War I was declared, Lissant was appearing in Berlin, alternating the roles of Sigmund and Siegfried in Wagner's Ring cycle. He was promptly arrested and interned.
Within a year he managed to escape from internment and made his way to Switzerland via Austria under very stressful conditions. He crossed the mountains by ski and sleigh and some walking.
From Switzerland he made his way to England and served for the duration of the war in the intelligence services.
In 1930, at the age of 53, he obtained his Aero Certificate at Phillips and Powis flying school at Woodley near Reading. He was inspired by the offer of a large cash prize offered by the 'Daily Mail' newspaper to the first man to fly in a glider across the English Channel.
On 19th June 1931 his glider was lifted to 12000 feet from Lympne airfield in Kent by a tug aircraft. Casting off, he made a trouble-free crossing to St. Inglevert airfield near Calais. He failed to win the prize as it stipulated a return flight on the same day and his tug aircraft in France developed a fault. The prize was awarded to Robert Kronfeldt, an Austrian, who crossed on 1st July.
On 2nd June 1936 Beardmore was aloft from Woodley in Miles M.2F Hawk Major G-ACWX when it entered a spin and crashed near the village of Hurst. Beardmore was killed.