Tributes paid to Penarth war veteran, Spitfire pilot and printer, Fred Beacon
11:00am Thursday 6th September 2012 in News
TRIBUTES have been paid to Penarth World War Two veteran and Spitfire pilot Fred Beacon, who has died at the age of 88.
Fred, who founded Beacon Printers on Cornerswell Road, was a lifetime member of both the Penarth RAFA Club and the Penarth Branch of the Royal British Legion. He died on August 24.
He was also a member of Glamorganshire Golf Club for many years and set up the Graphic Golfing Society, to bring together his contacts and friends from the printing industry and golfing fraternity.
Friends, as well as former colleagues who worked with him at Beacon Printers after he took them on as apprentices, described him as a 'colourful character' and someone that 'would always rather laugh than cry'.
His daughter Carole Stagg, 50, said he had many friends in the town.
"When we took him out, every 100 yards someone would say hello to him," she said.
Carole’s husband Malcolm added: "He was everyone’s friend and always had a smile on his face."
Fred joined the RAF in 1942 at the age of 18 and served for three years with the 607 (County of Durham) Squadron.
After completing aircrew training in southern Rhodesia, he was posted to Palestine, Egypt, India, Burma and Italy. In Burma as a Spitfire pilot, he fought against the Japanese.
"He didn’t boast about anything from the war," said Carole.
"It was more about comradeship and the friendships that he made.
"We still have his logbook and all his photos from the war. He was a great record keeper."
She said that as Secretary of the 607 (County of Durham) Squadron, Fred would organise the reunions for surviving members in Durham.
"They would all meet up and have reunion dinners," she said.
Malcolm added: "He always had a good sense of humour and would give great speeches at the dinners.
"Everyone used to comment on his smile and how he was such a lovely person."
Fred was also a keen golfer and set up the Graphic Golfing Society during his time as a member at Glamorganshire.
"He brought his contacts with graphics and golf together and they used to hold regular meetings with different golf clubs throughout the area," said Carole.
"He did love organising those sort of things!"
Dave Virgin, who worked with Fred at Beacon Printers, said: "He was a man of meticulous records. If Fred ever organised anything it was always planned down to the last detail.
"He was very hard-working, and worked hard building the business up in Penarth."
Dave, who is now secretary of the Graphic Golfing Society, added: "He was a colourful character that the trade will miss. He was fun loving and was someone who would always rather laugh than cry.
"He was 5ft 4in - but larger than life!"
Dave Stafford, 54, started working for Beacon Printers after he left school and now runs the business with Peter Legg.
"Fred offered me an apprenticeship and I have worked here all my life," he said.
"He was a bit of a character and was a funny guy."
* Fred Beacon’s funeral is tomorrow (Friday, September 7) at Trinity Methodist Church at 10.15am, then at Cardiff and Glamorgan Crematorium at 11.15am, with the wake at the Royal British Legion Penarth branch.