ROBERT J. VEASEY CORPORAL U.S.A.A.F.
364TH Bomb Squadron
305th Bomb Group (Heavy)
1st Air Division
8th U. S. Army Air Force
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
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
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."