Sunday, May 20, 2018

70 years ago: The death of Buzz Beurling

On May 20, 1948, George Frederick "Buzz" Beurling was killed in a plane crash at the age of 26. A native of Verdun, Quebec, Flight Lieutenant George Frederick Beurling dropped out of high school in order to fly planes, but was rejected by the Royal Canadian Air Force at the outset of World War II. He joined the U.K. Royal Air Force in September 1940, and became the greatest Canadian ace of World War II, recording 31 (or 31 1/3) kills, 27 over Malta during a two-week period in 1942, earning him the Distinguished Flying Cross, Distinguished Service Order, Distinguished Flying Medal, and Bar.

Buzz Beurling grew up in a Christian home where God's word was believed. A love for the Jewish people and a belief that Jews were God's chosen people was taught. Accordingly, Flt. Lt. Beurling turned down an offer to join the Egyptian Air Force during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, and joined the Israeli Air Force instead. At the conclusion of a test flight of a Noorduyn Norseman transport aircraft which was to be delivered to Israel, he and co-pilot Leonard Cohen were killed when the plane crashed while landing at Aeroporto dell'Urbe in Rome. Flt. Lt. Beurling's remains were eventually flown to Israel and buried in a military cemetery in Haifa.

The legacy of the Beurling family's love for the Jewish people continues today, as Buzz's niece Janice Beurling is a longtime leader in communications with Chosen People Ministries (Canada).

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