2LT Francis L Beck birth 04/16/1923 - KIA 04/04/1944.

Donald, Francis and his sister Dalphne at Rockford IL in 1932Francis Leonard Beck was born on 16 Apr 1923 at Pierre, Hughes County, SD. His father was Felix Francis Beck (1898-1971) and his mother was Clara Mae Benton (1901-1987). Little Francis was always interrested in cars and airplanes, that's why he surely chose later on to enlist in the Army Air Force. Francis began his education at the Roosevelt Junior High School, Rockford IL. Then at the Central & West Rockford High Schools. Francis Was in the first class to graduate from West Rockford High, June of 1941. During his High School years, he worked as a pinsetter at Madison Garden Bowling Alley.
He was employed at Parker Pump Co. of Rockford, as a Machinist, June 1941- January 1942 in Rockford, Winnebago County, IL.
After the outbreak of WWII Francis enlisted on January 22, 1942 at Cp Grant Illinois in the Air Corps. Pvt Francis had his basic Training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Then he was in the Aircraft Mechanic School, Chanute Air Base, Illinois.
He volontered for the great need of pilots in the Air Force and Francis was selected for pilot training at Lakeland, Florida. There Francis failed to qualify as a pilot and was Cadet Francis L Beck then assigned to Bombadier training at Midland Air Base, Texas.
Francis Beck did his training at the Midland Army Flying School, popularly called the "Bombardier College," this base was initially designated for Air Corps Advanced Twin Engine and Bombardier Training Center as part of the Gulf Coast Training Command. On September 26, 1942, the base was formally redesignated Midland Army Air Field, and the school was named the Army Air Forces Bombardier School, one of a dozen bombardier-training schools. Francis Beck was assingned to Class 43-11.
Francis graduated on August 5, 1943. He became 2nd Luitenant and recieved his Bombardier Wings.
2LT Francis Beck was commissioned and assigned to B-24 Bombers, August 1943. He begon advanced training on the B-24 in the 449th Bomb group were he was assigned to the Thieme crew as Bombardier in the 719 Sq. He did the training together with 2LT Edward O'Rourke, 2LT Gilbert Malrait and F/O William M Thieme and they became very close friends.
2LT Francis was on board in the first crash, read the story on the tribute page of 2LT Gilbert Malrait. On the second crash he was also on board, you can see the story on the same page.
2LT Francis Beck at Grottaglie, Italy2LT Francis Beck was KIA on that fatal mission #40 over Bucharest. The B-24 crashed near the vilage of Baneasa, in Province of Vlasca, Rumania. 2LT Francis corps was found on April 6, 1944 in the wreck of the B-24.
Francis was first buried together with his 6 fellows in the Catholic Cemetery at Giurgiu Rumania. 2LT Francis Beck was indentified by his identification tags. Later they were reburied in the temporary American military cemetery at Sinaia, Rumania.
Finaly 2LT Francis Beck was buried on The Ardennes American Cemetery at Neuville-en-Condroz Belgium Plot A, Row 21,Grave 19 with full military honors. The Air Medal with Oak
Leaf Cluster and Purple Heart was presented to his mother, Clara Johnson, after his death. He never married and he didn't have any children.
Hopely it will never be forgotten that LT Francis L Beck gave the ultimate sacrafice for the freedom of the World.

Here the grave of 2LT Francis Beck, his adopter Ghislaine Michelet, MACR page and the WWII Memorial for Francis.

Memorial Day 2009Adopter Grave FrancisMACR 3978WWII MemorialMemorial Day May 29, 2010

Special thanks to Deb Taylor for the pics and the story on here uncle 2LT Francis Beck.

Here 2 letters written by Francis to his first cousin Marjorie Davis.

Letter Cadet Francis BeckLetter Cadet Francis BeckLetter Cadet Francis BeckLetter Cadet Francis Beck

May 26, 1943 

My dear Marjorie,
2LT Francis L. BeckBelieve that it is your turn to write, but I’ll scratch out a few lines tonight anyway.  Not that I haven’t anything to do, oh no, I’ve got plenty that needs and will have to be done.  But I’m never too busy to spend a little time on you.
As you most likely have noticed, I’m some where else now.  This is the advanced school for bombardiers.  Here I really learn how to drop bombs.  Got my fingers on the bomb sight and know all about its insides. (leastways, I hope that I do, got a test on it Monday)  Next to that, all I’m going to tell you about it. Will graduate (again, I hope) in another eleven weeks.  Then I’ll be able to feel as if I’m pretty hot stuff.  Well, who wouldn’t?
Weather here the past few days has been terrible.  Cloudy and rainy now for the last four days.  Looks as if it will lift tonight.  There’s nothing we can do about it.
Probably tomorrow after I send this, I’ll get a letter from you.  Oh well, if I do, can write another next week.  Have only got one here so far and I’ve been at this place for little over a week.  Guess they still use the pony express down here.  This is really a grand place.  Heaven compared to Ellington.  Any place would be heaven next to that hole.  It’s not so much the field, as it is those that run it.  We’ve got a name for them but it wouldn’t be proper to use it in one of your letters.   Perhaps you get the idea.
What else is there to scribble about.  Not much, I’m afraid.  The towns that we get to go to here isn’t much to brag about.  They’re both little jerk-water flag stops.  Around 8000 people call each of them their homes.  Bigger than that place you live in though.  Trouble with me is I’m used to the big places.  I’m just a city boy at heart.  Feel out of place around these here country folks, unless I should happen to run across one of nineteen or twenty, and who wears a cute dress, if you get my slant. 

Will be signing out here,

Be good if it’s possible, and take care of yourself,



a/c FLB
Flight A, Squadron 3
AAFBS (not what you think it stands for)
Midland, Texas


Letter FrancisLetter Francis BeckLetter Francis BeckLetter FrancisLetter Francis Beck

Lt. F. L. Beck 0-688298
719th Sq 449th B Gp
APO 520 Postmaster
New York, NY 

Miss Marjorie Davis
916 W. Pleasant Drive
Pierre, S. Dakota

March 16, 1944 

Dear Marjorie,
Received your letter the other day.  Rather, the other week.  It came just before I went to the hospital from injuries received in a plane crash.  Didn’t do much writing from the hospital.  Wasn’t  in the mood.  At the present time I’m sitting here in Italy.  Been here for some time.   Flew over here.   Came up through Africa and S. America.   Had a grand time coming over.
Can’t give you no excuse for not having written sooner than this.  Am just downright lazy when it comes to writing.  The only person to which I write steady is Lorraine.  That’s that little girl of mine that mom told you about some time back.  As for writing to the rest of them, I’m just no good.
We are having a lot of rain here lately. Just about every day we have some rain and it has really made a lot of mud around this place of ours.
Haven’t done much flying of late on account of the rain.  Hope to be back in the flight again soon.  Gets us all damn tired laying around doing nothing.
There isn’t any too much to write about from here.  Can’t tell about everything that I do and what can be told about is uninteresting everyday happenings.  Such as getting up late, loafing, going to town or having a few drinks in the early hours of the night and then to bed.  That’s my daily excitement.   Dull isn’t it?  At the present time, yours truly is trying to get rid of a bad cold.  Not much success.  It’s one of those lingering types that stays and stays. In closing, I’m deeply sorry that I haven’t written to you sooner than this.  As I stated at the beginning of this letter, I’m rather lazy when it comes to writing.   But shall do my best in the future.  

Bye for now.  Best of health to you,


New address:
719th Sq. 449th Grp.
APO 520 Postmaster
New York

Special thanks to Mike and Jane Zeeb for sharing this letters, also special thanks to Marty Upchurch for the photo of Francis on his bombardier training. 

To be continued if new information ...