Art Donahue & a Message from Minnesota

Coffee & Conversation
Every Monday, 10:30-11:30 AM
St. Charles Public Library
**Special Program: Art Donahue & a Message from MinnesotaMonday, July 17**

Join us at the St. Charles Public Library on Monday, July 17 at 10:30am for the thrilling story of our own St. Charles native Arthur Gerald Donahue who went to war in the defense of democracy nearly a year and a half before Pearl Harbor.  Frederick Beseler of Houston, Minnesota will share Donahue’s story and will read selections from Donahue’s books: “Tally Ho! Yankee in a Spitfire” and “Last Flight from Singapore.”

Aviator Art Donahue joined Britain’s Royal Air Force to fly the legendary Supermarine Spitfire fighter in combat against the overwhelming German Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain.  He later flew Hurricane fighters in defense of Singapore against invading Japanese forces, for which he earned the RAF’s Distinguished Flying Cross.  Donahue’s first book, “Tally Ho!” was based on an article that appeared in the Saturday Evening Post magazine.  “Last Flight” was published posthumously.

Donahue and his Spitfire, “Message from Minnesota,” were lost in combat over the English Channel on September 11, 1942.  His squadron mates found the manuscript of “Last Flight” among Art’s belongings when he failed to return.

Art Donahue’s military service is commemorated on the Battle of Britain Monument in London and on the Memorial to the Missing at Runnymede in England – and on the St. Charles Veterans Memorial.

Frederick Beseler is retired after 40 years as a technical, advertising and marketing writer and editor in the commercial air conditioning industry.  He has also written numerous articles and speaks often on aviation, civil war, and steam boating history.  In 2001, his article about Art Donahue was published in the Battle of Britain Historical Society’s annual magazine. He spoke about Art Donahue in 2021 at the annual Twin Cities Antiquarian Book Fair at St. Thomas University.  Earlier this year he presented on the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) of World War II at the Richard I. Bong World War II Museum in Superior, Wisconsin, and later at the Woman’s Club of Minneapolis.

Beseler is also a private pilot and a past member of the Board of Directors of the Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame.  Frederick and Jane Beseler moved to Houston in 2019.  Jane Beseler retired as the Executive Director of the La Crosse County Historical Society.

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