George Beach, Honor Man,
Died In the Service As He
Desired, Says Commander
The long-looked-for letter from Major W. Ord Ryan, commander of the aviation instruction center at
Foggia, Italy, where George Beach met his death, arrived here yesterday, and officially conveyed to Mr. and Mrs. Tom Beach and the
members of the family the information as to the manner in which the much-beloved son and brother died in the service of his
In addition to the facts given by Major Ryan, the information is received that George Beach went to his death while performing a service for a comrade. This man was having trouble with a new machine, and it was his natural instinct that caused George to come to the relief. He took the new machine to help out his brother aviator. He had scarcely left the ground when another machine, making about 100 miles an hour, crashed into him. A fog bank was responsible for the accident, and this is mentioned in the official communication now at hand.
Following is the personal letter from Major Ryan, and with it a copy of the special orders announcing the death of the three aviators:
8th Aviation Instruction Center,
Foggia, Italy, Jan. 29, 1918.
Your son served under my command since leaving the United States, and by his delightful personality, keenness for work and devotion to duty, proved himself a man, a soldier and a gentleman in every respect, and one worthy of the greatest respect and admiraiton by all with whom he came in contact.
His death, which was instantaneous, was one of those almost impossible and wholly unavoidable accidents. He was piloting a machine flying over the training field. At the same time, another machine piloted by a first lieutenant, William H. Cheney, with First Lieutenant Oliver B. Sherwood acting as observer, was also in the
air. A very low cloud of fog blew over
the training field and closed around the machine piloted by Lieutenant Cheny. Lieutenant Cheney turned to get out of the fog, and as
the machine emerged, it struck your son's machine, who was also endeavoring to avoid the fog. Both machines fell to the ground, a
distance of about one hundred and fifty feet.
The funeral was held from the Italian Military Hospital in Foggia, at 2 o'clock on the afternoon of the 21st, and was attended by troops and officers of the American, Italian, French and English armies. All three men were buried with full military honors.
I am enclosing herewith the receipt for the vault which contains your son's body, also prints made of pictures taken of the funeral.
This noble sacrifice, although very hard to bear, is one every soldier is ready to make at any time for his country, and it is a comfort to know that he died as he desired--a soldier, a flier, honorable in the defense of his country, of liberty and democracy for the world.
Major, J. M. A., Signal Corps.
8th Aviation Instruction Center,
Foggia, Italy, Jan. 22, 1918.
Special Order No. 6.
2. 1st Lieut. W. H. Cheney, A. S. S. O. R. C,; 1st Lieut. O. B. Sherwood, A. S. S. O. R. C., and Aviation Cadet George A. Beach, S. E. R. C., were men who on every occasion and in every way showed their bravery, desire and eagerness in serving their country in all things and in all ways.
3. 1st Lieut. W. H. Cheney answered the call of his country by enlisting in the S. E. R. C. on March 31, 1917; entered the School of Military Aeronautics at Urbana, Illinois, graduated therefrom as an honor student on the 25th day of July, 1917. After completion of the course at the S. M. A., he was sent
abroad as a member of the A. E. F. He was the first member of this
command to complete his Italian military flying brevet, this on October 18, 1917, was commissioned as 1st Lieut. A. S. S. O. R. C. on
November 23, 1917, and thereafter as well as before, showed his abilities as a soldier and endeared himself to all men of the
4. 1st Lieut. O. B. Sherwood answered the call of his country by enlising in the S. E. R. C. on May 1, 1917. He entered the School of Military Aeronautics at Cornell University, Ithaca, N. Y., graduation therefrom as an honor student on the 24th day of July, 1917. After completion of the course at the S. M. A., he was sent abroad as a member of the A. E. F.; completed the Italian Military Flying Brevet on October 26, 1917, and was commissioned first lieutenant, A. S. S. O. R. C., on November 23, 1917. Lieut Sherwood was a most capable soldier and flier, loved by all his comrades.
5. Aviation Cadet George A. Beach answered the call of his country by enlisting in the S. E. R. C. on June 2, 1917. He entered the School of Military Aeronautics at Cambridge, Mass., graduating therefrom as an honor student on the 24th day of July, 1917. After completion of the course at the S. M. A., he was sent abroad as a member of the A. E. F. He completed the Italian Military Flying Brevet on December 15, 1917. After completion of the Brevet, Cadet Beach turned his efforts to air in the further instruction of other cadets. At the time of his death he was testing an aeroplane previous to its use for instruction purposes. Cadet Beach was a model soldier, a capable and enthusiastic flier, and in every way a credit to his country.
6. The great sacrifice of these brave young soldiers is not only an inspiration to this entire command and to the American air service at large, but also America's first offering of life in Italy to the great cause of the allied nations.
7. The command mourns at their loss and desires to convey the deepest sympathy to their bereaved families.
Major, J. M. A., Signal Corps,