John Richard Beeston volunteered to join The Parachute Regiment from the Royal Artillery (RA), and attended Parachute Training Course number 35 at RAF Ringway, on 30 November 1942.
He was posted to HQ Company Assault and Attack Platoon, 2nd Parachute Battalion.
The 2nd Parachute Battalion had parachuted into Oudna, North Africa on 29 November 1942, and after training Private Beeston joined the Battalion as part of the reinforcements.
On 13 July 1943 Pte Beeston dropped into Sicily and fought in the attempt to secure Primosole Bridge. He also participated in the later sea landings and fighting around Taranto in Italy the following September.
Pte Beeston returned to the UK with the 2nd Battalion in November 1943.
On 17 September 1944, the 2nd Parachute Battalion dropped at Arnhem and captured the road bridge under the command of Lt Col Frost. The force was cut off but managed to hold the bridge against heavy German attacks for three days and four nights. By dusk on 20 September Lt Col Frost was wounded and his battalion reduced to a few survivors were ordered to break out. Private Beeston was taken prisoner, and spent the rest of the war as a POW.
In August 1945 Pte Beeston returned to the RA, and in the early 1950’s was recalled into the reserve and served at Salisbury Plain.