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Thread: William Burns

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    Default William Burns

    Iím researching some family history and have discovered that a distant relative called William (Billy) Burns from a farm called Billie Mains near Chirnside in Berwickshire served in the RAF and died in a World War 2 plane crash. I have very few details other than he was a single man possibly as young as 18 and some relatives believe the plane crashed in the North Sea and he was never found. This interest was started by an uncle who watched a recent TV program about west coast of scotland coastal command Sutherland flying boat planes and wondered if William Burns was in that squadron.

    As a starting point I have checked two websites about Sutherland crashes on Islay and Caithness with no success.

    Do any of your website members have any thoughts on how to extend the search for war records information ? Any suggestions would be much appreciated. My thanks to "Linzee" for pointing me towards this site.

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    Default

    Hi

    Welcolme to the Forum

    The most likely candidate appear s to be: -

    Sgt WILLIAM BURNS (3022679); age Unknown RAFVR who was killed on 5 Feb 1945 whilst flying in Lancaster I, ME440 of No 1654 HCU, which was lost without a trace on a cross-country navigation exercise. He is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

    Malcolm

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    Default

    A search on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission site gives only a few William Burns associated with the RAF as casualties.

    http://www.cwgc.org/

    The most likely match is the Sgt William Burns who was killed on 5/2/45 and is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial to the Missing (no known grave).

    This is associated with the following loss:

    No.1654 Heavy Conversion Unit
    Lancaster I
    ME440

    F/Sgt D R Keast RAAF
    Sgt W Burns
    Sgt M Moore
    Sgt F G A Shaboe
    Sgt C Glatt
    Sgt A P Bulger
    Sgt W A A Clark

    Took off for a navex but lost without trace.

    Would the family know if he trained as a navigator?
    Edit - Loss card crew position misleading. Col has given the correct trade of Flight Engineer.

    Regards
    Ross
    Last edited by Ross_McNeill; 9th September 2012 at 10:37. Reason: Crew position amended - Cheers Col
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    Default

    Hello,

    A bit more detail:

    5-2-1945
    No.1654 Heavy Conversion Unit
    Lancaster I ME440
    Training.

    Took off RAF Wigsley 1326, to carry out a non-operational cross-country flight. The route was RAF Wigsley-Reading-Bodwin-The Skerries-Wigsley. The crew was briefed to fly at a height between 18,000/20,000 feet and an air speed of 160 knots.
    At 1643 the aircraft was given a diversion, and this was acknowledged. At 1658 the presumed position of ME440 was in the vicinity of Tudwells, approximately 6m S of Pwllheli, Wales. A further message was sent to the aircraft at 1706, but this was not acknowledged. Nothing further was heard from the aircraft and it did not return to base.

    AUS436038 F/Sgt (Pilot) Dixon Ross KEAST RAAF +
    3022679 Sgt (Flt. Eng.) William BURNS RAFVR +
    1685692 Sgt (Nav.) Maurice MOORE RAFVR +
    1586237 Sgt (Air Bomber) Frederick George Arthur SHABOE RAFVR +
    1334205 Sgt (W.Op.) Coleman GLATT RAFVR +
    619362 Sgt (Air Gnr.[MUG]) William Andrew Alcwyn CLARK RAFVR +
    1796164 Sgt (Air Gnr.[Rear]) Alan Patrick BULGER RAFVR +
    1123766 F/Sgt (W.Op./Staff) Francis Dermot BYRNE RAFVR +

    All commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

    There is a remote possibility that ME440 may have been involved in the following loss:

    5-2-1945
    No.1669 Heavy Conversion Unit
    Lancaster III PB570
    Training.

    Took off Langar to carry out a night cross-country operational training flight. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. The route was - Base-Basenstoke-Barnstaple-Bude-St Marys-Bardsey-Aberystwth-Northampton-Base.

    AUS427274 F/Sgt (Pilot) Ian Albert WEST RAAF +
    1605772 Sgt (Flt. Eng.) Gerald Frederick Arthur CLAPTON RAFVR +
    1676657 Sgt (Nav.) Roy HOLMES RAFVR +
    1804021 Sgt (Air Bomber) Henry William Nevil DRAWBRIDGE RAFVR +
    1891873 Sgt (W.Op./Air) Leslie Marcus TANNEN RAFVR +
    3025347 Sgt (Air Gnr.[MUG]) Peter Hadrian VOLLER RAFVR +
    1899507 Sgt (Air Gnr.[Rear]) Eric Durham KEELING RAFVR +

    All commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

    Sources: Alan Storr/CWGC & BCL8/158.

    Any comments?

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 9th September 2012 at 13:21.

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    Default William Burns

    My thanks to all the contributors for their prompt responses and detailed information. The family are grateful to find out the sad details of Billys last flight and his story can now be passed on for future generations to remember.

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