Airborne Engineers Association

Robert R Beaumont

 

 

Robert R. Beaumont — 3rd Para Sqn RE 1943-1946

 

Bob Beaumont died on 1st August 2011 aged 90 following a long period of ill health. He joined 3rd Para Sqn early in 1943, and as 'stick commander' in No.1 Troop landed in Normandy and was involved in the destruction of the bridges across the River Dives and the defence of the perimeter along the ridge at Le Mesnil and Breville against numerous enemy attacks.

After Breville he was promoted to Captain and transferred as Troop commander to 591 Para Sqn RE in 5 Para Bde with whom he remained until the end of the war in Europe (591 lost their OC and two troop commanders on 'D' Day). During the Ardennes campaign he commanded the troop that successfully constructed a Bailey bridge crossing over a ravine in a densely wooded and difficult location — he saw the funny side when it was renamed "Beaumont's Folly". He also commanded the two troops 591 assigned to support 5 Para Bde during the "Rhine Crossing", one of whom had to fly in by glider — Bob won the toss and chose to parachute! The other troop commander together with many of his troop was killed when their glider was shot down.

At the end of the European war, the 6th Airborne Division returned to the UK to prepare for moving to the Far East. In the reorganisation that followed, 591 left 6th AB Division and 3 Para Sqn; now renamed 3rd Airborne Sqn RE took its place in 5 Para Bde, and Bob transferred back into 3 Sqn as a Troop commander. With them he was shipped overseas to spearhead the Division's move to the Far East. It's arrival in India coincided with the dropping of the Atom bomb and it moved on to the Dutch East Indies to quell the uprising by the Javanese against the Dutch colonist. While there Bob was able to locate his father's grave that had died while Bob was at school back in the UK. Following his demob Bob trained as a civil engineer and worked on many major projects in the UK and overseas, before retiring as managing director of a construction company.

He seldom missed the annual 6th AB Div RE annual dinner and up until the onset of ill health was a regular attendee at the Normandy pilgrimage accompanied by his wife. Following her death he was sometimes joined by a lady friend and on one occasion offered the following advice:
"Should you seek female company, always choose a divorcee, a widow will never stop telling you how wonderful, loving and caring her late husband was, but a divorcee will only say that he was a rotten b'd!"

A very likeable man, Bob will be missed by all who knew him. RIP

 

 

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