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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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247
15th July 1944 247 Squadron Typhoon IB MN808 W/O. Burke

Operation: Rocket attack

Date: 15th July 1944 (Saturday)

Unit: No. 247 Squadron (motto: Rise from the East) 124 Wing. 83 Group. 2nd Tactical Air Force

Type: Typhoon IB

Serial: MN808

Code: ZY-J

Base: BG, Coulombs, France

Location: Vieux near Esquary

Pilot: W/O. Douglas Leopold Burke NZ/421671 RNZAF Age 20. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

On the 21st February 1943 flying Typhoon JP794 on a ramrod during the afternoon he was hit by flak and injured but returned to base. He returned to flying on the 24th March 1944. Two other casualties on this operation:

Fl/Lt. Charles Ellis Brayshaw DFC flying Typhoon IB JR258 was hit by flak and crashed into the sea north of Cabourg, France - body never knowingly recovered. P.O. R.S Colquhoun flying Typhoon IB JP785 was also hit by flak but pilot managed to return to base. The aircraft as JP794, suffered Cat. B damage (Beyond repair on site - repairable at a Maintenance Unit)

Taking off at 11:45 hrs as No 4 in a flight of four to attack a mortar battery in the Grimbosq Forest,

Arriving over the target some 20 minutes later flying under a 3000 ft cloud base the four came under intense anti aircraft fire.

Their leader, 22 year old Fl/Lt. Robinson flying MN812 ZY-B was shot down and killed. On completing his pass W/O. Burke was last seen flying very low and hedge hopping into the distance. He was also shot down and killed.

Residents returning to the area in August after being evacuated, discovered the young New Zealand pilot's body lying in a field at Vieux, they buried him next to the wrecked Typhoon. He was reinterred later at Banneville-la-Campagne.

Burial and personal details:

W/O. Douglas Leopold Burke. Banneville-La-Campagne War Cemetery. XIV.D.10. Born on the 04th February 1924 at Matamata. A student at Dannevirke High School prior to service. Enlisted at Rotorua on the 07th March 1942. Initial training at No. 1 Elementary Flying Training School joining on the 02nd May 1942, with his first solo on the 18th May 1942. Joined No. 2 Service Flying Training School on the 25th July 1942. Awarded his pilots badge on the 19t October 1942 and promoted to sergeant on the 19th December 1942. Embarked for England on the 16th January 1943. After attachment to various units joined No. 55 Operational Training Unit on the 18th August 1943 flying the Hurricane. Joined 247 squadron on the 09th December 1943.

Son of Robert Emmett Burke (died 12th February 1971, age 86) and Nada Inez Rebecca Burke (née Roberts - died 20th May 1978, age 85), of Matamata - both parents buried at Waihi Cemetery, Waikato, New Zealand. Total of 450 flying hours logged. Completed 39 operational sorties.

Others:

Fl/Lt. Charles Ellis Brayshaw DFC. 66584. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 201. Also remembered on his sisters grave at St. Helen's Church, Clifford Chambers, near Stratford-upon-Avon. Son of William Herbert and Elsie Kathleen Brayshaw, of Shottery, Warwickshire. Brother of Pauline May (died 16th June 1996, age 73).

Fl/Lt. Geoffrey Clifford Robinson. 123007. Banneville-La-Campagne War Cemetery. VI.F.2. Also remembered Great Crosby & Blundellsands’ War Memorial. Son of Herbert Henry and Edith Agnes Ann Robinson, of 3 College Road North, Crosby, Blundellsands, Liverpool. Member of the Waterloo Football Club. Engaged to Miss M. Rimmer, of Waterloo. Grave inscription: 'Death The Gateway To Life. Sweet Memories Will Always Remain'.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 24-09-2021

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Acknowledgements
Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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