E.L. Burke crew 25.11.43 †

Burke crew after Alf's death

Crew arrived at Mepal from 1651 CU on the 9th of November 1943

18/11/1943 – Attack Against Targets at Mannheim
Nineteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above targets with bombs of 2,000lbs and incendiaries of 30 lb and 4 lbs. Two aircraft returned early but the remainder successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. Large concentrated fires and huge explosions were seen. There was a moderate heavy A.A. Barrage and searchlights were fairly active.Mant enemy aircraft were seen and two short combats took place, but no damage was sustained by our aircraft. The weather was good, being clear at the target except for slight ground haze. Navigation was very good.

Stirling Mk.III LJ457 ??-?

P/O Philip Albin Miles Moseley, RAFVR 1389095/ 158020 – Pilot.
F/S Edgar Lawrence Burke, RNZAF NZ417016 – 2nd Pilot
F/S George Bernard Bates, RAFVR 655335/ 159429 – Navigator.
P/O E.D. Taylor, RCAF R.135003/ J.18878 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Vincent Bowes Farningham, RAFVR 914533/ 159541 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. G.(C?) Hughes, RAFVR 818154 – Flight Engineer.
P/O Donald Arthur Laycock, RAFVR 457004/ 130451 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S H.D. Lucas, RAFVR 778858/ 160135 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 17:20 – Landed 23:50
Flight Time 06:30

25/11/1943 – Mining off Cherbourg
One aircraft was detailed to carry out the above operation with mines of 1500lbs. which were successfully dropped in the allotted area and the parachutes were seen to open. This was an uneventful trip, no opposition of any kind being encountered. 7/10ths cloud was prevalent in the Mining Area. Navigation was excellent.

Stirling Mk.III LJ462 AA-O

F/S Edgar Lawrence Burke, RNZAF NZ417016 – Pilot.
P/O John Wallace Downing, RAFVR 136351 – Navigator.
F/S Frank Albert Page, RAAF AUS.409481 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Alan Stevens Bromley, RAFVR 1247614 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Walter Pickering, RAFVR 1434290 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Henry Cooper, RAFVR 1308375 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Alfred Newnham, RAFVR 1172993 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 17:30 – Landed 20:40
Flight Time 03:10

29/12/1943 – Mining off the Frisian Islands
Two aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with mines of 1500lbs which were successfully dropped in the allotted area, but the parachutes were not seen to open. Heavy A.A. Fire was encountered on the route and one aircraft received slight damage. There was ten tenths cloud in the mining area and visibility was poor. Navigation was excellent.

Stirling Mk.III EF454 AA-A

F/S Edgar Lawrence Burke, RNZAF NZ417016 – Pilot.
F/O John Wallace Downing, RAFVR 136351 – Navigator.
Sgt. Frank Albert Page, RAAF AUS.409481 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Alan Stevens Bromley, RAFVR 1247614 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Walter Pickering, RAFVR 1434290 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Henry Cooper, RAFVR 1308375 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Alfred Newnham, RAFVR 1172993 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 17:30 – Landed 20:30
Flight Time 03:00

04/01/1944 – Attack against a Special Target
Ten aircraft were detailed to attack the above target with bombs of 500 lbs. All of the aircraft successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. The attack was very concentrated and appeared to be a success. Some slight heavy A.A. Fire and a few enemy aircraft were encountered but proved negligible. In spite of 3-4 10ths. cloud at the target, visibility was good. Navigation was very good.

Stirling Mk.III BK695 AA-N

F/S Edgar Lawrence Burke, RNZAF NZ417016 – Pilot.
F/O John Wallace Downing, RAFVR 136351 – Navigator.
F/S Frank Albert Page, RAAF AUS.409481 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Alan Stevens Bromley, RAFVR 1247614 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Walter Pickering, RAFVR 1434290 – Flight Engineer.
F/S H.D. Lucas, RAFVR 778858/ 160135 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Alfred Newnham, RAFVR 1172993 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 02:15 – Landed 05:15
Flight Time 03:00

06/01/1944 – Mining in the Gironde Estuary
Eight aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with mines of 1,500 lbs., which were dropped in the allotted area. This was a successful and uneventful operation, some A.A. Fire was encountered but no aircraft received any damage. A few enemy aircraft were seen, and one short combat took place and the enemy aircraft was claimed as damaged. The weather was good with no cloud and visibility was perfect. Navigation was excellent.

Stirling Mk.III LJ462 AA-O

F/S Edgar Lawrence Burke, RNZAF NZ417016 – Pilot.
F/O John Wallace Downing, RAFVR 136351 – Navigator.
F/S Frank Albert Page, RAAF AUS.409481 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Alan Stevens Bromley, RAFVR 1247614 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Walter Pickering, RAFVR 1434290 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Henry Cooper, RAFVR 1308375 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Alfred Newnham, RAFVR 1172993 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 16:25 – Landed 01:25
Flight Time 09:00

14/01/1944 – Attack against a Special Target
Fifteen aircraft were detailed to attack the above target with bombs of 500 lbs., one aircraft brought its bombs back, owing to a failure of Navigational Aid equipment, and one returned early as it could not maintain height. This attack was successful and concentrated, bombs being seen to drop within the target area. Some A.A. fire was encountered, but caused no trouble. A few enemy aircraft were seen but no combats took place. The weather was good with no cloud and clear visibility. Navigation was excellent.

Stirling Mk.III LJ462 AA-O

F/S Edgar Lawrence Burke, RNZAF NZ417016 – Pilot.
F/O John Wallace Downing, RAFVR 136351 – Navigator.
F/S Frank Albert Page, RAAF AUS.409481 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Alan Stevens Bromley, RAFVR 1247614 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Walter Pickering, RAFVR 1434290 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Henry Cooper, RAFVR 1308375 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Alfred Newnham, RAFVR 1172993 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:15 – Landed 22:00
Flight Time 03:45

25/01/1944 – Attack against a Special Target
Twenty aircraft were detailed to attack the above target with bombs of 500 lbs. One aircraft failed to take-off, & four brought their bombs back. The remainder however, successfully dropped their bombs in the target area. This operation did not appear to be very successful, the bombing being rather scattered, some large explosions were seen, however. The weather was good with no cloud and clear visibility. Navigation was very good.

Stirling Mk.III EF507 AA-P

F/S Edgar Lawrence Burke, RNZAF NZ417016 – Pilot.
F/O John Wallace Downing, RAFVR 136351 – Navigator.
W/O Frank Albert Page, RAAF AUS.409481 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Alan Stevens Bromley, RAFVR 1247614 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Walter Pickering, RAFVR 1434290 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Henry Cooper, RAFVR 1308375 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Alfred Newnham, RAFVR 1172993 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:50 – Landed 03:05
Flight Time 03:15

27/01/1944 – Mining in the Heligoland Area
Thirteen aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with mines of 1,500lbs., which were all successfully dropped in the allotted area. An uneventful operation, little opposition was met, only slight A.A. Fire and a few enemy aircraft being seen. The weather was good, being clear except for sea haze. Navigation was excellent.

Stirling Mk.III BK695 AA-N

F/S Edgar Lawrence Burke, RNZAF NZ417016 – Pilot.
F/O John Wallace Downing, RAFVR 136351 – Navigator.
W/O Frank Albert Page, RAAF AUS.409481 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Alan Stevens Bromley, RAFVR 1247614 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Walter Pickering, RAFVR 1434290 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Henry Cooper, RAFVR 1308375 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Alfred Newnham, RAFVR 1172993 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 17:20 – Landed 21:45
Flight Time 04:25

28/01/1944 – Mining in the Kiel Bay
Nineteen aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with mines of 1,500 lbs. Three aircraft returned early, two dropped their mines in alternative areas, but the remainder successfully dropped their mines in the allotted area. Some light and heavy A.A. fire was encountered, and one aircraft received slight damage. A few enemy aircraft were seen and the aircraft captained by P/O C. BAKER, whilst on the homeward journey was attacked by a M.E.110, which raked our aircraft with machine gun and cannon fire, from the tailplane to the Navigator’s compartment, causing considerable damage. The mid-upper gunner, Sgt. RENWICK, H. was slightly injured and the Flight Engineer Sgt. WATSON, W. was seriously injured. On return the aircraft crash-landed at COLTISHALL. The weather was variable with 5-10/10ths cloud, but fairly clear in the mining area. Severe icing was encountered on the return journey. Navigation was very good.

Stirling Mk.III EF207 AA-P

F/S Edgar Lawrence Burke, RNZAF NZ417016 – Pilot.
F/O John Wallace Downing, RAFVR 136351 – Navigator.
W/O Frank Albert Page, RAAF AUS.409481 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Alan Stevens Bromley, RAFVR 1247614 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Walter Pickering, RAFVR 1434290 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Henry Cooper, RAFVR 1308375 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Alfred Newnham, RAFVR 1172993 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:45 – Landed 01:00
Flight Time 06:15

11/02/1944 – Mining in the River Ardour
Three aircraft were detailed to carry out the above operation with mines of 1500 lbs. Only one aircraft (F/Lt. D. WARREN) out of the three aircraft detailed to drop their mines in the river, reported that they had done so, but the photograph taken at the time shows that the river at BOUCAN was the one mined. The other two aircraft found cloud over the area and brought their mines back.

Stirling Mk.III EF507 AA-P

F/S Edgar Lawrence Burke, RNZAF NZ417016 – Pilot.
F/O John Wallace Downing, RAFVR 136351 – Navigator.
W/O Frank Albert Page, RAAF AUS.409481 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Alan Stevens Bromley, RAFVR 1247614 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Walter Pickering, RAFVR 1434290 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Henry Cooper, RAFVR 1308375 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Alfred Newnham, RAFVR 1172993 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:30 – Landed 02:05
Flight Time 07:35

15/02/1944 – Mining in the Mouth of River Ardour
Six aircraft dropped mines of 1500 lbs in the mouth of the river Adour. The visibility was excellent and all crews reported a successful operation. Photographs taken show the aiming point in three cases, and the factory is covered in two more. Unfortunately the sixth aircraft did not carry a photo-flash bomb. The Bomb Development Unit have, however, got the evidence from which to calculate where the mines dropped.

Stirling Mk.III EF507 AA-P

F/S Edgar Lawrence Burke, RNZAF NZ417016 – Pilot.
F/O John Wallace Downing, RAFVR 136351 – Navigator.
W/O Frank Albert Page, RAAF AUS.409481 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Alan Stevens Bromley, RAFVR 1247614 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Walter Pickering, RAFVR 1434290 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Henry Cooper, RAFVR 1308375 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Alfred Newnham, RAFVR 1172993 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 23:30 – Landed 07:05
Flight Time 07:35

02/03/1944 – Special Operations – March Moon Period WHEELWRIGHT 72 (SUCCESSFUL)
This operation was successful. Stirling III ‘W’ (crew as marginally named) took off at 21.03 hours to carry out special operation WHEELRIGHT 72. The target was reached at 00.36 hours, there being no low cloud for a radius of 10 miles, but some high cloud above, and all reception lights were clearly seen. Fifteen containers were dropped, and course was set for the return journey at 00.45 hours. Leaflets were dropped (8 packages) near Marmande, the aircraft returning to base without further incident where it landed at 04.09 hours.

Stirling Mk.III  AA-W

W/C Roy Douglas Max, RAF/ RNZAF 36149/ NZ2076 – Pilot.
F/O James Allworthy Lee Martin RNZAF NZ422197 2nd Air Bomber
F/O John Wallace Downing, RAFVR 136351 – Navigator.
W/O Frank Albert Page, RAAF AUS.409481 – Air Bomber.
Sgt. Alan Stevens Bromley, RAFVR 1247614 – Wireless Operator .
Sgt. Walter Pickering, RAFVR 1434290 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Henry Cooper, RAFVR 1308375 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt Alfred Newnham, RAFVR 1172993 – Rear Gunner.

*Whilst the crew is essentially complete, it does not include Edgar Burke, the position of Pilot being taken by Wing Commander Roy Max.

Take Off 21:03 – Landed 04:09
Flight Time 07:06

24/04/1944 – Attack Against Karlsruhe
Sixteen aircraft were detailed to attack Karlsruhe. One was withdrawn but the remainder carried out a successful attack with little opposition.

Lancaster Mk.III ND802 JN-D “The Flying Scotsman’

P/O Edgar Lawrence Burke, RNZAF NZ417016 – Pilot.
F/O John Wallace Downing, RAFVR 136351 – Navigator.
W/O Frank Albert Page, RAAF AUS.409481 – Air Bomber.
F/S Alan Stevens Bromley, RAFVR 1247614 – Wireless Operator .
F/S Walter Pickering, RAFVR 1434290 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Henry Cooper, RAFVR 1308375 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Donald Cameron Kitchener Grant, RAFVR 527237 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:35 – Landed 03:35
Flight Time 06:05

27/04/1944 – Attack Against Friedrichshafen
Sixteen Lancasters were detailed to attack Friedrichshafen. Fourteen successfully carried out their mission, one aircraft bombed a decoy in error and another failed to return (Captain NZ42282 F/O. R. Herron).

Lancaster Mk.III ND802 JN-D “The Flying Scotsman’

P/O Edgar Lawrence Burke, RNZAF NZ417016 – Pilot.
F/O John Wallace Downing, RAFVR 136351 – Navigator.
W/O Frank Albert Page, RAAF AUS.409481 – Air Bomber.
F/S Alan Stevens Bromley, RAFVR 1247614 – Wireless Operator .
F/S Walter Pickering, RAFVR 1434290 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Henry Cooper, RAFVR 1308375 – Mid Upper Gunner.
F/S Donald Cameron Kitchener Grant, RAFVR 527237 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:10 – Landed 06:35
Flight Time 08:25

09/05/1944 – Attack Against Cap Gris Nez
Fifteen aircraft were detailed to attack Cap Gris Nez and all successfully completed their mission. Only slight opposition was encountered.

Lancaster Mk.I ME691 AA-R

P/O Edgar Lawrence Burke, RNZAF NZ417016 – Pilot.
F/O John Wallace Downing, RAFVR 136351 – Navigator.
W/O Frank Albert Page, RAAF AUS.409481 – Air Bomber.
F/S Alan Stevens Bromley, RAFVR 1247614 – Wireless Operator .
F/S Walter Pickering, RAFVR 1434290 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Henry Cooper, RAFVR 1308375 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Donald Cameron Kitchener Grant, RAFVR 527237 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 02:55 – Landed 05:00
Flight Time 02:05

10/05/1944 – Attack Against Courtrai
Twenty three aircraft successfully bombed the marshalling yards at Courtrai. A concentrated attack was made with very slight opposition. One aircraft (Captain NZ413043 A/S/L. L. Drummond) was hit by A.A. Fire on the return journey and the Captain received slight injuries.

Lancaster Mk.I ME691 AA-R

P/O Edgar Lawrence Burke, RNZAF NZ417016 – Pilot.
F/O John Wallace Downing, RAFVR 136351 – Navigator.
W/O Frank Albert Page, RAAF AUS.409481 – Air Bomber.
F/S Alan Stevens Bromley, RAFVR 1247614 – Wireless Operator .
F/S Walter Pickering, RAFVR 1434290 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Henry Cooper, RAFVR 1308375 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Donald Cameron Kitchener Grant, RAFVR 527237 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:00 – Landed 00:35
Flight Time 02:35

19/05/1944 – Attack Against Le Mans
Twenty for aircraft successfully bombed the marshalling yards at Le Mans. Good results being reported.

Lancaster Mk.I ME690 AA-Z

P/O Edgar Lawrence Burke, RNZAF NZ417016 – Pilot.
F/O John Wallace Downing, RAFVR 136351 – Navigator.
W/O Frank Albert Page, RAAF AUS.409481 – Air Bomber.
F/S Alan Stevens Bromley, RAFVR 1247614 – Wireless Operator .
F/S Walter Pickering, RAFVR 1434290 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Henry Cooper, RAFVR 1308375 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Donald Cameron Kitchener Grant, RAFVR 527237 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:25 – Landed 03:50
Flight Time 05:25

21/05/1944 – Attack Against Duisberg
Twenty five aircraft took off to attack Duisburg, of which twenty one attacked the primary target. Three returned early with various technical failures and one failed to return (Captain NZ421803 P/O. W. Willis). Another aircraft (Captain AUS413157 P/O. A. Humphreys) was attacked by an enemy fighter and the navigator 1438903 F/Sgt. Hill, A. was injured, the aircraft also being damaged.

Lancaster Mk.I ME690 AA-Z

P/O Edgar Lawrence Burke, RNZAF NZ417016 – Pilot.
F/O John Wallace Downing, RAFVR 136351 – Navigator.
W/O Frank Albert Page, RAAF AUS.409481 – Air Bomber.
F/S Alan Stevens Bromley, RAFVR 1247614 – Wireless Operator .
F/S Walter Pickering, RAFVR 1434290 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Henry Cooper, RAFVR 1308375 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Donald Cameron Kitchener Grant, RAFVR 527237 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:50 – Landed 02:05
Flight Time 03:15

22/05/1944 – Attack Against Dortmund
Twenty three aircraft were detailed to attack Dortmund of which eighteen completed their mission successfully. Three aircraft returned early and two failed to return (Captains NZ417016 P/O. E. Burke and NZ42354 P/O. C. Armstrong). The raid was well concentrated and carried out in good weather with excellent visibility. One aircraft had an inconclusive combat with a JU 88. Otherwise the operation was uneventful.

Lancaster Mk.I ME690 AA-Z

P/O Edgar Lawrence Burke, RNZAF NZ417016 – Pilot.
F/O John Wallace Downing, RAFVR 136351 – Navigator.
W/O Frank Albert Page, RAAF AUS.409481 – Air Bomber.
F/S Alan Stevens Bromley, RAFVR 1247614 – Wireless Operator .
F/S Walter Pickering, RAFVR 1434290 – Flight Engineer.
Sgt. James Henry Cooper, RAFVR 1308375 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Sgt. Donald Cameron Kitchener Grant, RAFVR 527237 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 22:49 – Landed –
Flight Time Missing

Lancaster Mk.I ME690 AA-Z was shot down by a night-fighter and crashed at Neerpelt (Limburg) 5miles from Lommel, Belgium, after breaking up in flight. There were no survivors. Their remains were reinterred in Heverlee War Cemetery, near Louvain.

P/O Edgar Lawrence Burke, RNZAF NZ417016 – Pilot.
Killed age 26.
Son of Charles Augustine and Tillie May Burke, of Manaia, Taranaki, New Zealand.
Buried Heverlee War Cemetery, Belgium..
Grave location – 6. C. 2. 178

F/O John Wallace Downing, RAFVR 136351 – Navigator.
Killed age 33.
Son of Wallace Downing, and of Beatrice Downing, of Elmfield, Ryde, Isle of Wight; Husband of Esdale Downing. Journalist.
Buried Heverlee War Cemetery, Belgium..
Grave location – 6. C. 6. 182
‘There are days in our lives
We cherish deeply
Down to life’s uttermost end’

W/O Frank Albert Page, RAAF AUS.409481 – Air Bomber.
Killed age 29.
Son of Arthur Edwin and Cecela Mary Page; husband of Margaret Page, of East Malvern, Victoria, Australia.
Buried Heverlee War Cemetery, Belgium..
Grave location – Coll. grave 6. C. 3-5. 181
‘He gave his life
For home and country’

F/S Alan Stevens Bromley, RAFVR 1247614 – Wireless Operator.
Killed age 23.
Buried Heverlee War Cemetery, Belgium..
Grave location – Coll. grave 6. C. 3-5. 179

Sgt. Walter Pickering, RAFVR 1434290 – Flight Engineer.
Killed age 22.
Buried Heverlee War Cemetery, Belgium..
Grave location – 6. C. 1. 177

Sgt. James Henry Cooper, RAFVR 1308375 – Mid Upper Gunner.
Killed age 33.
Son of James and Florence May Cooper, of Stoke-on-Trent; husband of Florence Alice Cooper, of Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent.
Buried Heverlee War Cemetery, Belgium..
Grave location – Coll. grave 6. C. 3-5. 180
‘God has you in
His keeping In
His haven of rest.
Ever remembered.
Loving wife & children’

Sgt. Donald Cameron Kitchener Grant, RAF 527239 – Rear Gunner.
Killed age 29.
Son of Gregor James Grant and Catherine Grant, of Bearsden, Dunbartonshire.
Buried Heverlee War Cemetery, Belgium..
Grave location – 6. C. 7. 183
‘Sleep on, beloved,
Sleep and take thy rest’