Date: Around 1940
Credit: Verdun Borough Archives Fund
George Frederick “Buzz” Beurling was born in Verdun on December 6, 1921. From a very young age, he had only one passion: airplanes. He learned how to fly at 14 years old, and his first solo flight was at the age of 17. During World War II, Beurling enlisted in the Royal Air Force and shot down his first enemy aircraft in May 1942. His buddies nicknamed him “Buzz” because of his habit of doing unauthorized risky flights skimming the ground, the trademark of this undisciplined pilot. He shot down nearly 30 airplanes in Malta’s airspace, which made him a national hero. Around the end of the war, he left the Royal Air Force and was hired in 1948 as a fighter pilot for Israel’s air force. However, he died in the plane that was to bring him to Israel on May 20, 1948, at Rome-Urbe airport, a little civil airport north of Rome, Italy.