LEST WE FORGET

Sergeant Herbert Keith BURLEIGH

Service No: 49216
Born: Yan Yean VIC, 20 September 1921
Enlisted in the RAAF: 26 November 1941
Unit: No. 10 Squadron, RAF Station Mount Batten, Devon
Died: Accidental Injury during Air Operations: (No. 10 Squadron Sunderland aircraft HK573), England, 15 December 1943, Aged 22 Years
Buried: Bath (Haycombe) Cemetery, Somerset
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Herbert and Annie Florence Burleigh, of Maryborough, Victoria, Australia
Roll of Honour: Kerang VIC
Remembered: Panel 99, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW

At 0730 hours on 15 December 1943, Sunderland HK573 took off from RAF Mount Batten on an anti-sub patrol Percussion A-5 (500 feet) and was waterborne at 0948 hours at the Scilly Isles.

At 0910 hours when flying at a height of 2,400 feet in position 50.08N 08.40W, smoke began to emerge from the nacelle of the starboard engine inner, and within a few seconds, the propeller flew off and took with it the propeller of the starboard outer engine. The aircraft immediately set course for the Scillies, and six depth charges plus 1000 gallons of petrol were jettisoned. At 0912 hours, the plane was rapidly losing height, so all manoeuvrable apparatus was jettisoned. While the guns were being thrown overboard, the second Fitter, Sergeant Burleigh received a serious bullet wound in the left knee. At 0922 a message was sent to base saying the aircraft may be forced to land without further signals, as both the starboard outer and inner were unserviceable. At 0930 hours a message was sent that the aircraft was on course 100 deg. and 45 miles from Scilly Island, which after two minutes was followed up by an SOS signal 40 miles from Scilly. The aircraft continued on course and at 0942 a further signal saying an attempt was being made to land at Scilly, and the plane was finally waterborne at 0948 hours.

Sergeant Burleigh later died of his injuries.

The crew members of HK573 were:

Pilot Officer Patrick John Bevis (422532) (Third Pilot) Discharged from the RAAF: 22 February 1946
Sergeant Herbert Keith Burleigh (49216) (Second Fitter) Died of injuries
Flight Sergeant Ronald Owen Calder (418059) (Air Gunner) Discharged from the RAAF: 15 February 1946
Flying Officer Reginald William Stuart Gross DFC (205147) (Navigator) Discharged from the RAAF: 6 June 1947
Flight Sergeant James Walter Vincent Guy (402705) (Wireless Operator Air) Discharged from the RAAF: 28 February 1946
Warrant Officer Roland Edward Jackson (408581) (Wireless Operator Air) Killed in an Aircraft Accident: 15 August 1944
Flight Sergeant John Thomas Linton (427125) (Air Gunner) Discharged from the RAAF: 10 October 1945
Flying Officer Henry Arthur Lawrence McGregor (411030) (Second Pilot) Discharged from the RAAF: 1 July 1947
Sergeant William Cheseldon Henson Moser DFM (14611) (Flight Engineer) Discharged from the RAAF: 27 March 1946
Flight Lieutenant Basil Alfred Williams DFC (416164) (Pilot) Discharged from the RAAF: 21 June 1945
Sergeant Frederick Lawrence Field Williams (427276) (Air Gunner) Discharged from the RAAF: 22 November 1945

References:

Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/6/319
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line

Bibliography:

Ashworth, N. (Norman) The ANZAC Squadron: A history of No. 461 Squadron RAAF 1942-5, Hesperian Press Victoria Park WA 6100, 1994
Baff, K.C (Kevin), Maritime is Number Ten, K.C. Baff Netley SA, 1983
Joubert, P.B. (Sir Phillip Bennet) Birds and Fishes: the story of Coastal Command, Hutchinson and Company London, 1960
Southall, I.F. (Ivan Francis) (418900) They Shall Not Pass Unseen, Angus and Robertson Sydney NSW, 1956
Wilson, S. (Stewart) Anson, Hudson and Sunderland in Australian Service, Aerospace Publications Weston Creek ACT 2611, 1992