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Thread: W/C Harold Hamlyn BURNELL - DSO (No.223 Sqn), AFC, American Silver Star (No,7 Sqn)

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    Orleans, Ontario, Canada
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    Default W/C Harold Hamlyn BURNELL - DSO (No.223 Sqn), AFC, American Silver Star (No,7 Sqn)

    BURNELL, W/C Harold Hamlyn (39299) - Air Force Cross - No.3 Lancaster Finishing School - awarded as per London Gazette dated 1 September 1944. Home in Weyburn and Swift Current, although Commonwealth War Graves Commission recorded him as "son of Edgar Phillip and Jean May Burnell; husband of Lillian Irene Burnell of Kelowna, British Columbia"; the latter may simply record where his widow was living rather than his origins; appointed Acting Pilot Officer on Probation, 21 December 1936. AFRO 2684/44 dated 15 December 1944 (announcing his award) and AFRO 1822/45 dated 7 December 1945 (reporting his death) described him as a Canadian in the RAF; the former stated he had trained at No.33 SFTS, but given his date of enlistment it seems more logical that he may have instructed there (as indicated by the citation). Killed on air operations 14 November 1945 (aged 37; date confirmed by Commonwealth War Graves Commission); buried in Caserta War Cemetery, Italy. Public Record Office Air 2/9019 has citation drafted when he had flown 1,600 hours.

    This officer has been chief instructor at the school since its formation in November 1943. He has worked unceasingly to improve the standard of flying training and to develop the syllabus of the school. Wing Commander Burnell has, by his personal supervision, solved many instructional problems. Before being posted to No.3 Lancaster Finishing School, this officer's service included two years in a flying training appointment in Canada.

    BURNELL, Harold Hamlyn., W/C, AFC (39299, Royal Air Force) - No.7 Squadron - Silver Star (United States) - awarded as per London Gazette dated 20 July 1943. Public Record Office Air 2/9599 has citation as it appeared in Eighth Air Force General Order No.104 dated 16 July 1943.

    For gallantry in action while leading his Heavy Bombardment Squadron against some of the most heavily fortified targets in enemy occupied Europe. The courage, skill and devotion to duty displayed by Wing Commander Burnell on all these occasions have been an inspiration to all members of his command. His actions reflect the highest credit upon himself and the armed forces of His Majesty's government.

    BURNELL, W/C Harold Hamlyn, AFC (39299) - Distinguished Service Order - No.223 Squadron - awarded as per London Gazette dated 21 September 1945. No citation in that publication; following citation from Flight, 11 October 1945.

    This officer has had a long and varied operational career, and has commanded a squadron since September 1944. His present command entailed the formation of a new squadron, its equipment with American aircraft and the training of suitable crews. This duty has demanded much initiative and organization combined with the most arduous attention to detail. Wing Commander Burnell has completed this task with distinction and has, in addition, flown regularly on operations. Under his leadership his squadron has achieved great success on bomber support missions, particularly arduous operations, which this officer has completed with commendable thoroughness and enthusiasm.

    NOTE: Public Record Office Air 2/8149 has recommendation drafted by G/C. T.C. Dickens on 17 April 1945 when he had flown 50 sorties (275 hours 55 minutes); eight sorties (45 hours 50 minutes) since previous award.

    First Tour

    17 Nov 1939 Shipping, North Sea (4.30), "B" bombs on convoy
    21 Nov 1939 Heligoland Harbour (5.20), combat with Bf.109
    24 Nov 1939 Shipping, North Sea (5.00)
    5 Jan 1940 Shipping, Heligoland Bight (5.10)
    21 Jan 1940 Shipping (5.15)
    22 Jan 1940 Shipping, Sylt (4.40)
    27 Feb 1940 Pamphlets, Bremen (6.00)
    1 Mar 1940 Pamphlets, Bremen (5.40)
    15 Mar 1940 North Sea patrol (4.40)
    20 Mar 1940 North Sea patrol (3.50, early return)
    21 Mar 1940 Pamphlets, Hanover (7.10)
    23 Mar 1940 Pamphlets, Kiel (6.05)
    25 Mar 1940 Security patrol, Frisians (6.10)
    21 Apr 1940 Stavanger, Norway (8.05), hit by flak
    9 May 1940 Security patrol, Frisians (5.00)
    15 May 1940 Hamborn, Germany (4.40), 1st night bombing attack by Bomber Command
    18 May 1940 Road targets, Gembloux, Belgium (3.45)
    20 May 1940 Road bridge, Hannades, France (4.15)
    23 May 1940 Road targets, Brussels area (4.20)
    26 May 1940 Motor transport and tank convoy, Audenarde, Belgium (3.55)
    28 May 1940 Tank park, St.Omer (3.50)
    1 June 1940 Road targets, Dunkirk (3.30)
    3 June 1940 Road bridge, Cravelline (4.50)
    5 June 1940 Cologne (5.20)
    8 June 1940 St.Valley road and canal bridge (4.20)
    10 June 1940 Airfield, Brussels (4.35)
    13 June 1940 Seine bridges, Paris area (4.20), not carried out, unable to pinpoint)
    15 June 1940 Incendiary leaf attack, Black Forest (6.10)

    Second Tour

    19 Feb 1943 Wilhelmshaven (4.55)
    27 Mar 1943 Berlin (8.00)
    28 Mar 1943 St.Nazaire (5.35)
    29 Mar 1943 Berlin (8.25), hit by heavy fly; lost starboard inner engine
    4 Apr 1943 Kiel (6.05)
    10 Apr 1943 Frankfurt (6.35)
    14 Apr 1943 Stuttgart (7.05), combat with Ju.88, no claim
    16 Apr 1943 Mannheim (6.10)
    17 Apr 1943 Stettin (6.55)
    25 May 1943 Dusseldorf (4.50)
    21 June 1943 Krefeld (4.30)
    27 July 1943 Hamburg (4.55)
    12 Aug 1943 Milan (8.30)
    17 Aug 1943 Peenemunde (7.10)

    Third Tour

    27 Nov 1944 Bomber support, North Germany (4.50)
    29 Nov 1944 Window Patrol, Ruhr (4.45)
    5 Jan 1945 Jostle Patrol, Houggalaise (5.10)
    5 Feb 1945 Jostle Patrol, Cleve (5.00)
    20 Feb 45 Jostle Patrol, Reinholm (6.15)
    1 Mar 1945 Window Patrol, Stuttgart (6.35)
    20 Mar 1945 Jostle Patrol, Heide (5.25)
    16 Apr 1945 Window Patrol, South Germany (7.30)

    This officer has a long and varied operational career, and since 22nd September 1944 has commanded a Special Duties squadron.

    His present command entailed the reformation of a new squadron, its equipment with American type aircraft and their modification for night flying, the training of crews for a special duty role, and now the successful culmination of several months of sustained operations.

    This duty has demanded much initiative and detailed organization combined with the most arduous attention to detail. Wing Commander Burnell has completed this task with distinction and in addition has flown regularly on operations.

    The personal example of this officer has been exceptional, and by his brilliant leadership a splendid spirit of squadron morale has been created and maintained.

    The squadron this officer commands has achieved much success and has afforded great support to Bomber Command operations, which success is a tribute to the qualities of this officer, and recognition of his distinguished services is most strongly recommended.

    On 28 April 1945 the Air Officer Commanding, No.100 Group, added his comments:

    This squadron commander has set a fine example of devotion to duty. Since his employment on Bomber Support duties he has had a particularly difficult task which he has accomplished with commendable thoroughness and enthusiasm. He has achieved a fine operational record. I consider he well deserves the award of the DSO.

    Press Release 11140 dated 26 September 1945 stated he had flown 70 sorties with Nos.38, 7 and 223 Squadrons.

    NOTE: The following was posted on RAF Commands Forum by Paul MacMillan, 8 September 2019:

    Hawker Audax Mk.I K7487, 8 FTS, RAF Montrose: Written off (destroyed) 30/7/37 when stalled & hit trees recovering from spin over Montrose, Angus.


    Herbert Laurence Price 705551

    Harold Hamlyn Burnell (39299) Canada

    Full Story

    Published: Friday 06 August 1937
    Newspaper: Montrose Standard


    Mens Lucky Escape

    Acting Pilot-OSeer H. L. Price and Pilot- Officer H. H. Burnell, No. $ Flying Training Sehool, Montrose, had a narrow escape from serious injury when their 'plane crashed near Monikie at the end of last week. The mishap took place in a wood near the North Lodge of the Dundee Town Council's Waterworks, the 'plane crashing its way through the tree tops and falling at the base of a tree. The force of the impact tilted the tail into the air, and the 'plane came to rest in an almost vertical position, resting against the broken tree trunk, halt-hidden amongst branches and foliage. Quite near the wood the members of the 3rd Dundee (Y.M.C.A.) Company, Boys' Brigade, were in camp, and along with a police officer and others in the vicinity hurried to the spot. On arrival they found the two men picking themselves up some 12 feet away trom the machine, out of which they had been thrown. A.P.O. Price, the pilot, suffered bruises to his face and right shoulders, while his passenger P.O. Burnell, escaped with a leg injury.


    The 3rd Company captain, Lt David .L Cunningham, 56 Nesbitt Street, Dundee,and Staff-Sergeant R. D. Crichton immediately rendered first-aid. Staff-Sergeant Crichton, a Dundee Corporation gas department employee, actually had his ambulance equipment with him when he saw the 'plane crash. He was on his way to attend a toot injury suffered by one of the campers. After the injuries had been temporarily dressed, A.P.O. Price taken by the police to Monifieth where he was seen by Dr Richardson. Within an hour of the crash, however, lie was back on the scene. The crowd of spectators which had gathered by this time saw two cool and unruffled pilots surveying their smashed 'plane. Tributes were paid to the BB ambulance work. Well, done, said a police sergeant, referring to the dressings which had been applied. The path which the big biplane had cut through the trees could be clearly seen, and tree tops over six feet in length were strewn on the ground. The wings had been smashed as the 'plane came against the trees. In response to a telephone call from Monikie, a party of R.A.F. men and a service ambulance came by road from Montrose. Meantime, however, a squadron of machines had appeared and circles round the wood as it in a search. The 'plane was bright yellow, but whether the searchers could see it amongst the trees was uncertain. Before joining the R.A.F., P.O. Burnell experienced three air crashes in Canada. On one occasion his machine lodged in a tree top, and the occupants had to climb down to ground level. The wrecked plane was later removed by Montrose R.A.F. men.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Default Re: W/C Harold Hamlyn BURNELL - DSO (No.223 Sqn), AFC, American Silver Star (No,7 Sqn


    Burnell's First Tour was with No.38 Squadron RAF.

    Minor incident.

    Appendix 3 - Bomber Command Accidents & Incidents 14 July 1936 - 2 September 1939.

    Vickers Wellington.

    10.7.1939 - 38 Squadron - L4230 - F/O H H Burnell* [Canadian] - Ground accident.
    * Where an asterisk has been appended alongside a name , this indicates the airman died during the war, but no longer serving with the Command,

    See: BCL1(rev.2nd.ed.)2013/pp.344 -357.

    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 13th November 2023 at 14:53.

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