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364TH Bomb Squadron
305th Bomb Group (Heavy)
1st Air Division
8th U. S. Army Air Force

 In early September 1944 Corporal Robert J. Veasey a parachute rigger in the 364th Bomb Squadron of the 305th Bomb Group put in for leave with the stated intention of visiting his sisterís boyfriend1 Sgt. Merle Beach of H Company, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment.  The request was granted and Corporal Veasey was soon off to Nottingham where the 508th was based.

Corporal Veasey reached the 508thís base just before notification of the Holland jump.  When he found out about it, he told Sgt. Beach that he would like to go along and experience some ground combat.  Sgt. Beach talked with 1st Lt. Ralph DeWeese who said that if Corporal Veasey wanted to go along it was alright with him being the regiment was under strength due to casualties suffered in Normandy.  Sgt. Beach drew weapons and equipment for Corporal Veasey and then put him through a crash course in infantry fighting and tactics.  Being the Corporal was a rigger, he already knew how to make a parachute jump and landing.

Corporal Veasey jumped with the 508th and fought with them for several days.  It was during an attack on Thorsen Molen that Corporal Veasey was with Pvt. Tom Beno.  They were sheltered in a shell hole taking a break when a German artillery shell scored a direct hit on Corporal Veasey.  His body was blown apart and Tom Beno was injured by shell, tissue, and bone fragments.

The Individual Deceased Personnel File for Corporal Veasey contains a map of his approximate field burial which in actuality as simply a matter of throwing some dirt over body parts.  Being that he was not formally attached to the 508th there was no notification of his death.  He had been formally listed as being AWOL on the 19th of September 1944 by the 364th Bomb Squadron when he failed to return from leave and was later declared a deserter.

It was not until much later that Corporal Veaseyís story came to light and letters were written by many 508th PIR veterans to the War Department to clear his name and have him listed as killed in action.

When I asked Zig Boroughs about Corporal Veasey he told me that it was many years before anyone would talk about it.  And, that even today 60-some years later the survivors still do not mention it that much.  Zig gave me the names of several men to contact and I can say that none of them told me that much.  It wasnít until Monica Beno contacted me in hopes of helping Tom obtain VA benefits that I was given the whole story.

 It seems that Robert Veasey had dreams of going into combat and being a hero.  The men of his squadron all said that he talked constantly of wanting to go into combat and he assured them that once there he would perform valorous deeds that would make his family proud of him.

After researching this story I am of the impression that Corporal Veasey had every intention of going into combat with the 508th and did not intend to go back to his unit on time.  Iíve been told that there were rumors flying that a big operation was scheduled to take place and Iím reasonably sure that he timed his leave in hopes of being part of it.  I donít believe that he gave any thought as to how he was going to return to his unit when the 508th was pulled out of combat and Iím sure that the thought of his being killed or wounded ever crossed his mind.

It is sad to note that 1st Lt. Ralph DeWeese was also killed with Corporal Veasey.

Iím attaching Corporal Veaseyís Individual Deceased Personnel File and a letter written by Angel Romero for additional information.

John West, American representative for the Market Garden Foundation


1 - Susan Veasey White, the niece of Robert Veasey, wrote, "I just found your website and learned so much more about my Uncle Robert J Veasey, who was killed before I was born. So good to know he was a hero, because he was not discussed in our family while I grew up. One correction however, is [that] it states he was in contact with "his sister's boyfriend, Merle Beach" and there were no sisters - he had 2 brothers."

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