Tag Archives: Frank Albert Page

Australian War Memorial – information update

Aus WM2

I am pleased to relay to all of you that I received an email from Chris,
Assistant Curator, Military Heraldry & Technology at the Australian War Memorial this morning informing me that, to the best of his and his teams knowledge all items held in the collection which encompasses uniforms, badges, medals  etc and items of military technology has had it’s information updated to correctly/ accurately  reflect the name of the Squadron.

I am really pleased to have received this information as it represents an ongoing effort by the AWM to update their records after an initial request made by myself slightly over a year ago. My first contact was replied to very quickly, but obviously a task of this kind takes time and coordination and obviously has to fit within other projects and activities that the curatorial staff are involved with.

As I said in my original post about this work, whilst a small detail of correction, it’s a significant one , I am sure , for the families and relatives of the 32 Australian airmen that died with 75(NZ) Squadron RAF.

Many thanks to all of the Australian War Memorial staff who have helped make this happen.

Visit the Australian War Memorial here.

Update to the Australian War Memorial Honour Roll

Australian War Memorial

Many thanks to Meredith and her staff in the Honours Rolls section of the Australian War Memorial for updating the records of the 32 Australian airmen who flew with and lost their lives with 75(NZ) Squadron. I am pleased to say that the Australian War Memorial Honour Roll now correctly records their Squadron as 75(NZ) Squadron RAF.

After initially contacting the AWM with my request that the records be corrected, the staff replied to me and very quickly corrected the information. I am sure that we all send our thanks to the individuals who were involved in this activity. Whilst perhaps to some, a small matter of detail, to many of us, including , I am sure the families of these 32 brave boys, it is a very important one nevertheless.

Visit the Australian War Memorial website here.

Alfred Newnham RAFVR 1172993 – Rear Gunner. 1943

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Many thanks to Kevin for passing on Alf’s logbook. As somewhat of a unique feature to his book, there appears to be no titling on the top of the pages regarding his time with 75(NZ) Squadron – I think, so far the only logbook presented on the blog not to have this. Because of this, I decided to show the last page with the central depository stamp on it – again, something I haven’t seen in a logbook to date.

Read Alf’s logbook here

Alfred Newnham, Rear Gunner – Burke and Rowberry crew. 1944

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Alf Newnham, Rear Gunner with the Burke crew and Rowberry crew. Lost 13th March 1944 whilst on the St.Nazaire Op.
© Kevin King

After the last post about the Burke crew and Margaret’s planned trip to Belgium at the end of this month, it seemed apprporiate to disentangle the individuals in the story – partly to not complicate the post on Margaret’s visit, but also to remember the individuals in the story.

Perhaps by way of fate, Alf Newnham was the Uncle of the Friends of 75(NZ) Squadron Association Chairman, Kevin King.

Kevin has generously passed on this information about Alf.

Alf arrived with the rest of the Burke crew on the 9th November 1943 from 1651 Conversion Unit. The crew had completed 13 Ops, when 2 days after returning from a special Operations Op with W/C Roy Max as Pilot, Alf was sitting on his bed when Alfred Venn, Rear Gunner with Jim Climie’s crew came in and informed him the Rowberry crew were down and a Rear Gunner. F/S Venn, ironically, had volunteered himself, only to then discover his crew had been put on Battle Orders. Saying there was now a ‘trip’ going spare, Alf should get himself down to the Flight Office, fatefully, he did…………

Kevin has spent many hours trying to ascertain the exact circumstances and location of Alfred’s and the rest of the Rowberry crew’s loss. In 1984, he received a letter from John Hannah, Navigator with Des Horgan’s crew, who were also on the St. Nazaire Op.

John Hannah

A letter from John Hannah, Navigator with the Horgan crew, detailing the events of the night of 13th March 1944 and the loss of the Rowberry crew. When Kevin met Des Horgan, 12 years later, he confirmed the story.
© Kevin King

Edgar Burke – Pilot.

Edgar Burke

Edgar Lawrence Burke – Pilot.
© Margaret Still (nee Burke)

I received an email a week or so ago form Margaret, the Secretary of the UK Friends of 75(NZ) Squadron Association, regarding a planned trip at the end of this month to commemorate the loss of her Uncle on the 22nd May 1944 on a raid to Dortmund.

Edgar was one 2 boys and six girls who grew up on the family farm, perhaps for this reason his mother was furious about him joining, he was the youngest of the 8 children, Margaret’s father being the oldest. Apparently Edgar  was very good looking and had a great sense of humour.

The remains of his Lancaster are in the museum in Wigram in Christchurch along with his log book and escape map that the resistance got out of the plane before the Germans came.

Peter Lonke’s uncle was one who swam the canal to see if anyone was alive so that is how Peter became interested in 1979 and dug up the pieces of the aircraft and drove them to London to NZ House and the Air Force flew them back home.

From Margaret herself;
” In 1986 the UK Branch of the Squadron were invited to Lommel where Uncle Edgars; plane went down for an unveiling of a stained glass window in memory of the crew who were killed.  The window is of the 75 NZ Squadron emblem and was attended by dignitaries from NZ House and the RAF.  There would have been over 300 at the service.  It was very moving and when they played the NZ National Anthem I couldn’t stop crying.  This was most probably, the most moving time of my life and one of the times when I couldn’t stop crying. 

I am returning to put a memorial plaque up in the church for Peter Lonke who was responsible for the original commemoration and died in 2011 of cancer.”

The Burke crew arrived at Mepal on the 9th November 1943, form 1651 Conversion Unit.

18.11.43. War Ops – Attack Against Targets at Mannheim.
Stirling Mk.III LJ457
Edgar undertakes a  2nd Pilot flight with  Philip Moseley and his crew.

25.11.43. Gardening – Mining off Cherbourg
Stirling Mk.III LJ462 AA-O
F/S/ Edgar Lawrence Burke – Pilot.
F/O John Wallace Downing – Navigator
Sgt. Frank Albert Page – Air Bomber
Sgt. Alan Stevens Bromley – Wireless Operator
Sgt. Walter Pickering – Flight Engineer
Sgt. James Henry Cooper – Mid Upper Gunner
Sgt. Alfred Newnham – Rear Gunner.

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The Burke crew. From left to right: Alf Newnham, Walter Pickering, John Cooper, Edgar Burke, John Downing, Frank Page and Alan Bromley.
image courtesy of Kevin King

29.12.43. Gardening – Mining off the Frisian Islands.
Stirling Mk.III EF454 AA-O

4.1.44. Attack Against a Special target.
Stirling Mk.III BK695 AA-N
Jim Cooper replaced by F/S H.D. Lucas as Mid Upper Gunner.

6.1.44. Mining in the Gironde Estuary.
Stirling MK.III LJ462 AA-O
Jim Cooper returns to the crew as Mid Upper Gunner.

14.1.44. Attack Against a Special Target.
Stirling MK.III LJ462 AA-O

21.1.44. Attack Against a Special Target.
Stirling Mk.III EF137 AA-Y
James Cooper replaced by F/S Tom Peevers as Mid Upper Gunner.

25.1.44.Attack Against a Special Target.
Stirling Mk.III EF507 AA-P
James Cooper returns to the crew as Mid Upper Gunner.

27.1.44. Mining in the Helioland Area.
Stirling MK.III BK695 AA-N

28.1.44. Mining in Kiel Bay.
Stirling Mk.III EF507 AA-P

11.2.44. Mining in the River Adour.
Stirling Mk.III EF507 AA-P

15.2.44.Mining in the River Ardour.
Stirling MK.III EF507 AA-P

2.3.44 Special Operations  – Operation WHEELWRIGHT 72
Wing commander Roy Max is Pilot.
Stirling Mk.III AA-W

11.3.44 Special Operations – Operation  WHEELWRIGHT 66
Wing commander Roy Max is Pilot.
Stirling Mk.III AA-Q

2 days later, Alfred Newnham, Rear Gunner with the Burke crew volunteered to fly Rear Gun with Geoffrey Rowberry’s crew onthe 13th March on a Gardening Op to St. Nazaire. It is postulated that they were caught by a flak boat. All crew were lost.

2.4.44 Administration
The following crews were detached to No. 3.L.F.S Feltwell:-NZ41302 F/L. E. Sachtler and crew, NZ417078 P/O C. McKenzie, and crew, NZ422780 F/S. Gray, A. and crew, NZ416519 F/S. Megson, C. and crew, NZ415427 W/O. Stott F. and crew and NZ417016 P/O. E. Burke and crew.

8.4.44 Administration
The following captains and crews ceased to be detached to No. 3.L.F.S Feltwell:-NZ41302 F/L. E. Sachtler, NZ417078 P/O C. McKenzie, NZ422780 F/S. Gray, A., NZ416519 F/S. Megson, C., NZ415427 W/O. Stott F. and NZ417016 P/O. E. Burke.

24.4.44. War Ops – Attack Against Karlsruhe.
Lancaster Mk.III ND802 JN-D
Alf Newnham’s vacated Rear Gunn is taken by Sgt. Don Grant.

27.4.44. War Ops – Attack Against Friedrichshafen.
Lancaster Mk.III ND802 JN-D

9.5.44. War Ops – Attack Against Cap Gris Nez.
Lancaster Mk.I ME691 AA-R

10.5.44 War Ops – Attack Against Coutrai.
Lancaster Mk.I ME691 AA-R

19.5.44. War Ops – Attack Against Le Mans.
Lancaster Mk.I ME690 AA-Z

21.5.44. War Ops – Attack Against Duisburg.
Lancaster Mk.I ME690 AA-Z

22.5.44. War Ops – Attack Against Dortmund.
Lancaster Mk.I ME690 AA-Z

F/S/ Edgar Lawrence Burke RNZAF NZ417016. Pilot.
Buried Heverlee War Cemetery, Belgium.

F/O John Wallace Downing RAFVR 136351. Navigator.
Buried Heverlee War Cemetery, Belgium.

Sgt. Frank Albert Page RAAF AUS.409481.  Air Bomber.
Buried Heverlee War Cemetery, Belgium.

Sgt. Alan Stevens Bromley RAFVR 1247614. Wireless Operator.
Buried Heverlee War Cemetery, Belgium.

Sgt. Walter Pickering RAFVR 1434290. Flight Engineer.
Buried Heverlee War Cemetery, Belgium.

Sgt. James Henry Cooper RAFVR 1308375. Mid Upper Gunner.
Buried Heverlee War Cemetery, Belgium.

Sgt. Donald Cameron Kitchener Grant RAFVR 527237. Rear Gunner.
Buried Heverlee War Cemetery, Belgium.

Lancaster I ME690 AA-Z

The crash site of ME690 AA-Z

Kerk Overpelt Fabriek 03d

A piece of metal recovered from the crash site of ME690 AA-Z with the names of the Burke crew inscribed on it, Lommel, Belgium.