Friday, July 6, 2007

Remembering a Wellington RCAF Crew

Wellingtons in formation (Photo courtesy of John Havers)

Friend and fellow aviation historian John Havers of England sent me an interesting story today showing that in England, the people still remember and honor those who paid the ultimate price in the war. He tells the following story:

"Vickers-Armstrongs Wellington X bomber HF485 of 82 Operational TrainingUnit, RAF Ossington, Notts returning from operations over the Brest area of France on 5 July 1944, suffered engine trouble.

A forced landing was attempted at 0245 hrs at Livermore Farm, Honiton, but during the final moments of the flight, the aircraft struck the farm house, killing the crew of 6; all were from the Royal Canadian Air Force:

Flight Lieutenant Frank Lorne Burston (30) London, Ontario

his brother, Flying Officer Glen Richard Burston (28) London, Ontario

Flying Officer Douglas Gordon Bush, DFC (21)Kelowna, British Columbia

Flying Officer Richard Vernon Doupe (31) London, Ontario

Sgt. Neil Scott Hurder (20) Saint John, New Brunswick

Sgt. Owen Miller (20) from Toronto.

All are buried in Brookwood Military Cemetery, Woking, Surrey.

The crew was remembered at the Communion Service at St Michael's Church, Honiton yesterday; the 64th anniversary of the tragic accident. The church is but a very short distance from the crash site. We were happy to be at the service and to hear their names mentioned.

Their Name Liveth for Evermore"


Richard Havers said...

Rob, there can't be many instances of brothers in a bomber crew being killed together. Do you know of any? A real brothers in arms tale.

r morris said...

I think it was discouraged, and I can think of no other situation where it occurred--though it may have.
How sad to be the mother after such a day.

r morris said...

In the Navy, four or five brothers (I think they were called the Sullivan Brothers) went down on the same ship, and after that, the US military made sure family members were split up.

John Havers said...

Thanks Rob for including this; hopefully it will be seen by folk in Canada. This flight was likely at the end of their training course when operations were conduction using a crew of instructors & tranees. Frank Burston was the senior officer & pilot & so witout doubt an instructor. Maybe he was taking care of his younger brother but certaily unusual for them to be flying together.

r morris said...

John, keep sending me anything of interest dealing with British or Commonwealth airmen and I'll use it.

DMS said...

Oh! What a wonderful surprise to find this! I am the niece of the late Sgt. Neil Scott Hurder! His sister, 82 this March, is my Mom. I have known so little of my late 'Uncle Neil' as Mother has always called him. I have a photo of him as well as a few taken in England. Never having met him I know very little about my very, very small family.

I am overwhelmed and somewhat surprised by the profound range emotions that I am experiencing as I type this! I am in tears for an uncle that I never knew. Incidentally, 'Uncle Neil' has a namesake, now an adult.

One day I should so love to visit areas of the crash location and his gravesite. I have never been able get my Mom to go. Until today I do not think that she knew this information about the community where they crashed and the recognition / respect still given to these young men.

To those in England thank you for acknowledging his life and to whomever, thank you for posting this.
DMS, Dartmouth, NS, Canada

Maurene H. said...

I am the daughter of Frank Lorne Burston, 11 months old at the time of his death. I am amazed and overwhelmed by the remembrance of my father and his crew paid by St. Michael's church in Honiton. Last year I visited the war museum in Ottawa and they found the fact that these 2 brothers were on the same crew unbelievable. Would love to hear more details known by the people of Honiton or records that exist.

G. E. Chase said...

I'm searching for a Wellington aircraft that crashed in England while on a practice run and found this webpage. I encourage anyone who has photos of Canadians who were KIA to submit them to the Canadian Virtual War Memorial where they will be posted on the man's page. It is possible to add the particulars as well.

Jonathan said...

Amazing what the internet does for us these days! I've been researching this crash for the past few years and I'm so glad that it is posted here! Maurene, I'm in contact with your cousin Diane and we've spoken a bit about the crash. She and I have corroborated information for each other and it has been pretty amazing so far!

From what I've found so far, they were on a leaflet dropping mission over France. This was to be their last training mission before being posted to an operational squadron. I'm wondering whether they were hit over France, since the reports I've read all indicate that at least one engine was on fire when it hit the house at Livermore Farm.

My grandfather was 2LT Julius Goldman, US Army and was at the crash site the morning after the crash. I'm not sure why he was there, and that is what I'm really trying to figure out. He was an Infantry officer waiting for orders to join up with a unit as a replacment platoon leader (he joined the 83rd Infantry Division on 15 July in Carentan, France.

However, I know he was at the crash site because he picked up a piece of the airplane, which he brought home after the war was over. I still have it and it is among my most prized possessions.

Please feel free to contact me at I'd love to discuss this in much greater depth than we can on here!


Jonathan Bernstein

Jonathan said...

One last comment!

I believe F/O Bush was the instructor (he's got a DFC, whereas the rest of the crew has no awards listed), so he was most likely the rating officer, even though Frank Burston technically outranked him. When I fly (I'm an Army Aviator), I technically outrank the Warrant Officer in the back seat of the helicopter, since I'm a commissioned officer, but because of his experience and expertise he is the actual aircraft commander regardless of rank.



r morris said...

Wow! This must be about the most rewarding post I've made on the blog. Thanks to John Havers in England for calling it to my attention. And thanks to all those who wrote in and reconnected. God bless you all.

Sarge said...

Both Burston brothers names appear on a Roll of Honour in London Gospel Temple, a Pentecostal church in London Ontario Canada. A picture is available but I'm not sure how to upload same.