Donald was the son of John and Mary Bead, he had two brothers, Herbert, Neville and three sisters, Annie, Elizabeth and Amy. He was born in Elworth Cheshire.
He joined the Royal Flying Corps as a mechanic on 20 August 1913 and was deployed along with his company to France at the outbreak of the Great War, firstly working on the ground at the same time as looking for opportunities to get into the air. His break came on 20 July 1916 when he was manning the guns in the observer’s seat of a B.E.2 when the pilot Captain Copeland was wounded, Donald was able to shoot down the German aircraft that was attacking them he then took control of the aircraft and flew back to their base. He was awarded the Military Medal for this act of heroism, and got his chance to train as a pilot.
After completing his training 26 November 1916 Donald was assigned to the 11 Squadron RFC with the rank of sergeant piloting a Bristol F2 fighter dubbed “Amy”.
March 9 1918 flying with Sergeant H. W. Scarnell who was manning the rear guns, drove a German Pfalz D.III fighter down out of control. A week later, with Second Lieutenant H. M. Stewart as gunner he set an Albatros DV on fire.
Donald was commissioned as a temporary Second Lieutenant on April 03 1918. His last victory came on May 09 1918, where he drove down a Pfalz Dlll and destroyed another one
Donald resigned his commission on December 10 due to poor health. His wife Stella Marie was killed in a car crash on 27 December 1933 aged 22, sadly a month later he also lost his infant daughter who passed on January 01 1934.
On November 18 1940 Donald was commissioned as a flying officer for the duration of World War ll, on 22 January 1941 probationary Pilot Officer Beard was assigned to administrative duty. On the 20 July he was transferred to the technical branch, then transferring to the reserves on 13 march 1942.
Donald passed away in 1980 aged 84.