Flight Lieutenant Ernest Patrick BURKE

Service No: 426303
Born: Brisbane QLD, 30 September 1911
Enlisted in the RAAF: 20 June 1942
Unit: No. 166 Squadron (RAF), RAF Station Kirmington
Died: Air Operations: (No. 166 Squadron Lancaster aircraft ME296), Germany, 16 January 1945, Aged 33 Years
Buried: Rheinberg War Cemetery, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of John Ernest and Florence Burke; husband of Bessie Margaret Burke, of Kew, Victoria, Australia
Roll of Honour: Brisbane QLD
Remembered: Panel 119, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

At 1725 hours on the night of 16 January 1945 Lancaster ME296 took off from Kirmington as one of 22 aircraft from the Squadron detailed to bomb the Braunkohle-Benzin synthetic oil plant at Zeitz, Germany. Nothing was heard from ME296 after take-off and it failed to return to base. A Missing Research and Enquiry team reported later: “the aircraft crashed 1 km south of Jburgan on the Gansbruck-Munster.” Two crew members had been killed and five taken prisoner.

The crew members of ME296 were:

Flight Sergeant George Anson (195433) (RAFVR) (Mid Upper Gunner) PoW
Flight Lieutenant Ernest Patrick Burke (426303) (Pilot)
Sergeant Thomas Edward Carr (1590301) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Flight Sergeant Gwilym Kenneth Eden John (1651466) (RAFVR) (Navigator) PoW
Flight Sergeant G W Kirk (62058) (RAF) (Wireless Air Gunner) PoW
Flying Officer John Mansfield Meggitt (424599) (Air Bomber) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 15 October 1945
Flight Sergeant T R Wood (975880) (RAFVR) (Rear Gunner) PoW

In his PoW Report Flying Officer Meggitt stated; “Presume attacked from underneath by a night fighter. First warning was a hit in the starboard inner, and subsequent loss of the starboard inner and port inner. Skipper advised controls were gone. Bale out ordered and acknowledged. The Mid Upper baled out first and I followed then Nav, Rear Gunner and WOP. Aircraft still under control when I baled out at approximately 6,000 feet. But must have gone out of control before Pilot and Flt Eng could get out as the Germans said their bodies were still in the aircraft. The aircraft crashed in the Lienen Munster area. Contacted the others before reaching Dulag Luft. All were captured separately.”


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, 166/6/550

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