This is the story of a man from early twentieth century rural Cork who rose to the heights of the RAF and excelled as a major figure in international rugby in the 1920s and 1930s. Air Marshal George Beamish was one of the famous ‘Flying Beamishes’ – six siblings who were all members of the RAF; a record they hold to this day. The highlights of his career include responsibility for the air evacuation after the Battle of Crete in 1941, participation in the Desert War and his spell as Air ADC to King George VI. In 1949, Beamish was appointed Commandant of RAF Cranwell, where he had been awarded the prestigious Sword of Honour in the 1920s. In 1962, he was appointed High Sheriff of County Londonderry and, on the strength of his military and sporting records, ran for nomination for a Northern Ireland seat in Parliament. A good all-round sportsman, Beamish excelled at rugby. He was capped 25 times for Ireland, which he also captained. He participated in the 1930 Lions tour to Australia and New Zealand and captained a regional team in an heroic victory over the Springboks in 1931.
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