Flight Sergeant Eric Eyles BIRCH

Service No: 429445
Born: Rockhampton QLD, 4 November 1923
Enlisted in the RAAF: 8 October 1942
Unit: No. 115 Squadron (RAF), RAF Station Witchford
Died: Air Operations: (No. 115 Squadron Lancaster aircraft PD276), Germany, 25 October 1944, Aged 20 Years
Buried: Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Kleve, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Frederick Tyler Birch and Emma Susannah Graham Birch, of North Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia
Roll of Honour: Rockhampton QLD
Remembered: Panel 119, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

At 1323 hours on 25 October 1944 Lancaster PD276 took off from Witchford detailed to bomb Essen, Germany. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take-off and it failed to return to base. A Missing Research & Investigation team later reported “The aircraft crashed in a field near a convent called Haus Schur, and the wreckage was not discovered by the nuns until the next morning.” All the crew members had been killed.

The crew members of PD276 were:

Flight Sergeant Eric Eyles Birch (429445) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flying Officer Edwin Kay Lovell Langton (426462) (Navigator)
Sergeant John Frederick Mason (1881521) (RAFVR) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Sergeant David Christie Spiden (950495) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Flying Officer Paul Alfred Stuart (418309) (Pilot)
Sergeant William Jack Edward Templeman (1811207) (RAFVR) (Rear Gunner)
Flying Officer Victor Henry Wilson (J/37882) (RCAF) (Air Bomber)


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/5/758

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