Flight Lieutenant George Frederick "Buzz", “Screwball”  Beurling, DSO, DFC, DFM & Bar

DoB: December 6, 1921

DoD: May 20, 1948

Cause of death: Suspicious plane crash in Rome, Italy


Distinguished Service Order

Distinguished Flying Cross

Distinguished Flying Medal & Bar

Confirmed kills: 31

Photo of F/L Beurling taken prior to 1948

Used with permission from acesofww2.com


Qualified as a pilot and awarded wings, 9 September 1941.

Commissioned 30 July 1942. It appears that as early as 14 October 1942, Canadian authorities were requesting that he be sent to Canada for publicity purposes.

On 14 October 1942, he was wounded in Spitfire BR-173, 12:30 hours (bailed out and retrieved from the sea). The diagnosis was given as "small shrapnel wounds on left leg”.

Claimed to have been shot down by Bob Buckham in an unreported friendly-fire training incident in early June 1943.

Released from the RCAF, 16 September 1944.

He applied to rejoin the RCAF, 25 May 1945 for Pacific service, but A/V/M H.L. Campbell (Air Member for Personnel) advised against him being allowed to re-enlist & George was so advised on 12 June 1945.

At some point, he tried to enlist in the USAAF but was refused there as well.

Screwball spent the last year of the war wishing he was in it.

In 1948 he decided to fly for the Israelites during their war of independence but was killed in a suspicious plane crash in Rome, Italy, on 20 May 1948, with his American friend Len Cohen, shortly after takeoff.

His wish was to be buried in Malta but his parents would not allow it.

His body lay in storage for two years before being moved to Mount Carmel Cemetery in  Haifa, Israel. He is buried next to former RCAF flyers Len Fitchett, Oliver Holton, Spencer Boyd & Fred Stevenson "


  • Shot down 31 enemy aircraft

  • Dropped out of grade nine to become a co-pilot in Ontario, Canada

  • Flew the Spitfire IX

  • Flew for the RAF because he did not have the academic qualifications for Canada’s service

  • “The most successful Canadian WW2 Pilot”



George "Screwball" Beurling. (n.d.). Retrieved December 4, 2020, from https://acesofww2.com/can/aces/beurling/



52 (City of Calgary) Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron, serving youth since 1941