Friday, July 6, 2007

Brothers Serving Together--And Dying Together

A reader made a good observation concerning the story posted today on the RCAF Wellington bomber that crashed in England, killing the crew. There were two brothers on the crew, Flight Lieutenant Frank Lorne Burston, age 30, and Flying Officer Glen Richard Burston, age 28, both of London, Ontario. The reader wondered how common this was. The only instance I know about is that of the Sullivan Brothers, who all served together on the U.S.S. Juneau in World War Two.

Their strange and tragic story follows, quoted from the U.S. Navy website.

"Albert, Francis, George, Joseph and Madison Sullivan were born in Waterloo, Iowa, between 1914 and 1920. George and Francis enlisted in the Navy in 1937. Their three younger brothers joined the service in early 1942. All five were assigned to the commissioning crew of USS Juneau (CL-52) in February 1942. They remained with the ship through her Atlantic shakedown operations and subsequent combat actions in the Guadalcanal Campaign. All were lost with her on 13 November 1942, a tragedy that received wide publicity in the United States and resulted in a new Navy policy discouraging family members from serving together in the same ship.

For more information on this subject, see The Sullivan Brothers ...

In February 1943, the destroyer Putnam, then under construction at San Francisco, California, was renamed USS The Sullivans (DD- 537) in honor of the Sullivan Brothers. More recently, an Arleigh Burke class destroyer, DDG-68, was named USS The Sullivans. This ship was commissioned in 1997."

For more on this story, go to this link:

Does anyone know of any situations involving air crews where brothers served on the same aircraft? Please contact me if you do.

Great question, Richard.

My friend Moofy in England, 8th Air Force researcher extraordinaire, sent me this photo to add to this blog. It was shown her by her late friend Jack Ilfry, the fighter pilot. In it, Ilfrey is meeting Mr. and Mrs. Sullivan, the parents of the Sullivan Brothers.

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