Beadon tropical flying suit

Read the forum code of contact

Member for

15 years 4 months

Posts: 83

hi just purchased an old beadon flying suit has anyone any info on these please its a grey colour but the same as the one in luftwaffe v raf flying clothing but not much info really can anybody enlighten me please?

Original post

Member for

18 years 6 months

Posts: 126

I’m no expert on flying clothing but I am lucky enough to own the archive of Beadon’s Wireless Operator John Mason and have looked into Beadon's career as a result. What follows below is mainly a combination of Beadon's Daily Telegraph obituary, extracts from Graham Pitchfork’s ‘Shot Down and on the Run’ and a small amount my own research.

I have a nice letter from Beadon to his ex- W/Op after he arrives at Air HQ in which he talks about the survival work he’s engaged in. Shot Down and on the Run features a couple of stories involving Beadon suits (and is worth a read anyway).

582, I’d be interested (by pm if you prefer) what a Beadon Suit goes for and/or if anyone else has any leads on a decent example.

Clive Vernon Beadon was born at Conoor near Poona, India, on April 15 1919. He was the elder son of Col. Vernon Beadon MC, of the 9th Gurkhas, and his wife Beryl Martin, a member of the banking family.

Beadon was educated at the Imperial Service College, Windsor, from where he won scholarship to Sandhurst - but he then elected, to his father's dismay, to go to the RAF College, Cranwell. Commissioned in 1939, Beadon began his career in No.101, a Blenheim training squadron.

After the outbreak of the war he moved No 502, a Whitley bomber squadron operating for Coastal Command from St. Eval in Cornwall. In September 1940 Beadon qualified as a flying instructor at the Central Flying School and spent the next two years training pilots. In September 1942 he was posted to No. 1 Middle East Ferry Control, and three months later moved on to India where he flew Wellington bombers with 99 Squadron against the Japanese in Burma.
Beadon completed his overseas tour on the operations staff at HQ Air Command, South-East Asia. He was one of the first officers to recognize the need for improvements in survival aids and was assigned the task of developing this discipline on his arrival at Air HQ New Delhi in March 1943. With F/Lt Brathwaite he produced Under the Greenwood Tree and the Jungle Hiker- booklets aimed at promoting survival for downed aircrew.

He recognized that the clothing worn by aircrew was entirely unsuitable for flying over jungle terrain. The existing pattern of flying clothing was too hot and heavy and aircrew had taken to wearing shorts and alight shirt. Many wore soft suede or ‘desert boots’ that proved totally useless in the jungle. Beadon decided that he would design a lightweight flying overall in khaki drill, which would meet the three basic requirements of:

1. Protection in the air against fire
2. Protection on the ground
3. Providing a means of carrying survival and escape aids

The overall had to be capable of carrying a much-enhanced range of survival and escape aids. These fell into four categories: a comprehensive range of medical, marching and survival aids and the overall itself.

Fitting the overall to take sufficient pockets to take the small containers of aids solved the problem of stowing them in a convenient place in the air so they were not left behind when the aircraft was abandoned. Beadon incorporated a satchel, which fitted into the back of the suit with webbing shoulder straps and a belt, and could be detached once on the ground. Normally the aids were carried in flight in the pockets, and on landing they were transferred to the satchel, which could be carried comfortably as a small haversack. For aircrew flying bomber and transport aircraft , a small haversack with snap fasteners was added into which the bulk of equipment was packed and kept close at hand in the air. In an emergency it was clipped onto a belt or the parachute harness. Officially it was known as the Mark III kit, but it was universally known as the Beadon Suit. It was advised that British Army marching boots should also be worn.

In 1944 Beadon flew a Liberator bomber at low level to attack Japanese supply trains on the Bangkok-Chiengmai railway. His aircraft was hit by Japanese anti-aircraft fire, its tail destroyed, its gunner killed and the rear portion set ablaze. Beadon struggled to maintain height and somehow succeeded in piloting the burning Liberator more than 1,000 miles back to base.

He was still on active service in South-East Asia when his DFC was gazetted in August 1945, and was therefore unable to attend an investiture at Buckingham Palace. He did, however, meet King George Vl on a later occasion. "It is to men like you," the King told him, 'that we owe our freedom."
In 1946 he came home to HQ Bomber Command, and then went to the Air Ministry on the training staff.

But his exploits as a pilot were not over. In 1950 he was appointed commander of 297 Squadron. Three years later by now a Wing Commander he was sent by the British Government to Entebbe on a mission to bring home the Kabaka of Buganda, whose life was under threat. The Kabaka did not leave willingly, and was hustled on board with a coat over his head while Beadon kept the aircraft engines running.

Beadon served as British air attache in Caracas from 1954 to 1957' when he joined the administrative staff at RAF Colherne. In 1962 he went to the Ministry of Defence as a specialist on pilot conditions before being appointed assistant air attache in Paris. He retired from the RAF in 1966.
Subsequently, Beadon became an authority on dowsing and vice-president of the British Association of Dowsers. Over the years he succeeded - sometimes with only a map, a pendulum, and a small container of crude oil - in pinpointing large deposits of oil in Africa and South America.

To assist his work as a dowser, Beadon invented a pendulum and what he called a "spiral of tranquillity", both acrylic models containing small gemstones of his own selection. Their function, he explained, was "to correct the Earth's unbalanced energy lines within their immediate vicinity"; in addition, he claimed, they could cure insomnia.

In 1996 Beadon appeared on the ITV programme The Paranormal World of Paul McKenna and announced that he had located "between 50. and 75 million gallons of oil" in Windsor Great Park, south of the castle and north of Frogmore. But he held that the oil could only be extracted at the risk of polluting London's water-supply.

He died in 1997 and his papers are held by the IWM accession number 97/12/1