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Thread: 31 October 1942 - Runnymede Casualties

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    Thanks for that Keith.

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    Default Re: 31 October 1942 - Runnymede Casualties

    Hi

    I have been carrying out some family history research and came across a distant relative, 564123 Warrant Officer Geoffrey Maurice Burchell. His is on the Runnymede Memorial having died on 31st October 1942. I know nothing of the circumstances of his death but what I have found out whilst doing some research is that he is buried in his local cemetery in Caterham, Surrey. I visited the graveyard yesterday but was unable to locate the grave, it is a vast graveyard with lots of fallen down, laid down stones etc etc. However, the burial records for the church (St Mary's Caterham ) show that he was buried there on 5th November 1942. My main query is that if he is buried in this graveyard why is he listed on the Memorial at Runnymede.

    Steve

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    Default Re: 31 October 1942 - Runnymede Casualties

    W/O Burchell has what is called a high panel number on Runnymede. This as I understand it refers to those whose burials could not be confirmed with relatives after the war. So, yes he is buried there but his next of kin must not have informed the CWGC post war when they were processing such matters.

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    Default Re: 31 October 1942 - Runnymede Casualties

    Hello,
    Just a question about the Anson's Unit.
    In the Anson File it has
    AX173 1 AOS/ 5 AOS/ 1 AOS (57).
    Would the (57) mean that the a/c was thought to be with 57 Squadron or was it numbered 57 ?

    Oh yes and only presumed ditched in the Irish Sea.
    Thanks
    Alex
    Last edited by Alex Smart; 6th September 2020 at 04:13.

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    Default Re: 31 October 1942 - Runnymede Casualties

    Hello,

    The format for the RAF listings follows that of earlier publications in this series. For each machine, every unit is listed with which it served (except storage units), and where it can be traced the code marking is listed in parenthesis after the relevant unit. In the case of aircraft serving with the Air Transport Auxiliary, this is shown as "ATA" followed in square brackets by the Ferry Pilot Pools (later Ferry Pools) with which it served.

    See:
    The Anson File.
    Sturtivant,Ray (comp.).
    Tonbridge:Air-Britain(Historians),1988.
    p.3

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 6th September 2020 at 04:51.

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    Default Re: 31 October 1942 - Runnymede Casualties

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveAtt View Post
    Hi

    I have been carrying out some family history research and came across a distant relative, 564123 Warrant Officer Geoffrey Maurice Burchell. His is on the Runnymede Memorial having died on 31st October 1942. I know nothing of the circumstances of his death but what I have found out whilst doing some research is that he is buried in his local cemetery in Caterham, Surrey. I visited the graveyard yesterday but was unable to locate the grave, it is a vast graveyard with lots of fallen down, laid down stones etc etc. However, the burial records for the church (St Mary's Caterham ) show that he was buried there on 5th November 1942. My main query is that if he is buried in this graveyard why is he listed on the Memorial at Runnymede.

    Steve
    Steve, welcome to the Forum.

    Afraid I don't have much on 564123 W/O Geoffrey Maurice BURCHELL RAF. I can tell you that he was one of "Trenchard's Brats". He entered Halton in the No.21 Entry (564049-564576, January, 1930). Several of his contemporaries were:

    564120 Sgt (Obs.) William Locke BALMER RAF (27) - + 12/04/1940 - 9 Sqn - Wellington IA P2520.

    564122 Sgt (Obs.) John Royal BRANTON RAF (27) - +07/04/1940 - 226 Sqn - Battle I P2265.

    564125 Sgt (Pilot) Trevor BUDDEN RAF (27) - +17/09/1940 - Special Duties Flight - Blenheim IV P4830.

    They are all mentioned on the Old Haltonians Roll of Honour. W/O Burchell's entry is sadly lacking in detail.

    http://www.oldhaltonians.co.uk - click on Tribute - then click on The Roll of Honour - go to 'B' (Alpha), or Order Entry, No.21.

    Geoffrey Burchell's entry in Chris Hobson's, "Failed To Return", is similarly disappointing:

    Burchell, Warrant Officer Geoffrey Maurice, Royal Air Force (564123), 31 October 1942, Died, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey - That's it!

    See:
    Failed To Return Airmen Died in the Second World War 1939-1945 The Roll of Honour of the British, Commonwealth and Allied Air Services Part 2: A-B.
    Hobson,Chris (comp.)
    Uckfield:Naval & Military Press,2019.
    p.1101

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 6th September 2020 at 07:24.

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    Default Re: 31 October 1942 - Runnymede Casualties

    You will need to order G M Burchell's death certificate and/or his service record from the GRO and RAF respectively to learn anything more concrete, we can provide directions to the websites you need if you like.

    Do you think you will pursue this as it will incur expense?
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

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    Default Re: 31 October 1942 - Runnymede Casualties

    Don't know if it has been mentioned earlier in the thread , but Cummings's "Clipped Wings" vol 1 only has four crew named in connection with AX173.
    THOMSON, GREY,RILEY and SINNIAH.
    All three are as is BURCHELL, remembered on the Runnymede Memorial..
    Has anyone tried to find if they too have graves ?
    If Burchell was washed ashore or recovered from the sea, then somewhere there must be a record of that event ?
    Also if lost on the 31/10/42 he was found and buried in a very short period of time which seems odd to me, as his remains would have had to be identified, arrangements made for transportation and burial on the 5th November 42 ?
    So maybe he was not with AX173 at all ?
    Alex
    Last edited by Alex Smart; 6th September 2020 at 21:53.

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    Default Re: 31 October 1942 - Runnymede Casualties

    Hi,

    Many thanks for the replies, I think that my next port of call will be to try to find local newspaper reports for the Caterham area and see if they mention anything about his demise.

    Cheers
    Steve
    Last edited by SteveAtt; 6th September 2020 at 17:31.

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    Default Re: 31 October 1942 - Runnymede Casualties

    Hello Alex
    With his death registered in Durham Western, and having plotted a few of the place names, I believe I'm correct in saying that the district is inland and has no coast.

    The only suggested connection to AX173 was a poster on an old thread who then realized he likely had that in error.

    G M Burchell's presence on Runnymede i feel we have already established is due to CWGC not knowing of his grave post war.

    https://www.ukbmd.org.uk/reg/distric...20western.html

    The first RAF base that jumps out at me from the Durham West registration district is RAF Middleton St George.
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

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