Pilot Officer Thomas Alfred BURNETT

Service No: 421069
Born: Fernleigh NSW, 15 April 1916
Enlisted in the RAAF: 7 December 1941
Unit: No. 90 Squadron (RAF), RAF Station Tuddenham
Died: Air Operations (No. 90 Squadron Lancaster aircraft NE177), France, 11 June 1944, Aged 28 Years
Buried: Dreux Communal Cemetery, Eure-et-Loire, France
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Robert Somerville Burnett and Lillian May Burnett; husband of Jean Lorraine Burnett, of Canterbury, New South Wales, Australia
Roll of Honour: Lismore NSW
Remembered: Panel 119, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Lismore Cenotaph, Lismore NSW
Remembered: Alstonville War Memorial, Alstonville NSW

Lancaster NE177 took off from RAF Tuddenham at 2322 hours on the night of 10 June 1944, detailed to bomb rail facilities at Dreux, France. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take-off and it failed to return to base. The aircraft crashed at Grandvilliers (Eure), 7 kms north from Tillieres-sur-Avre, France. Three crew members were killed, one taken prisoner and three evaded capture.

The crew members of NE177 were:

Pilot Officer Thomas Alfred Burnett (421069) (Pilot)
Sergeant J F Clifton (2211527) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer) Evaded capture
Sergeant William Francis Gallivan (1613986) (RAFVR) (Rear Gunner) PoW
Warrant Officer Gustaf Kenneth Hartwig (412313) (Wireless Air Gunner) Evaded capture, Discharged from the RAAF: 19 December 1945
Sergeant H H Holt (1576238) (RAFVR) (Air Bomber) Evaded capture
Sergeant Dennis Andrew Frederick Mundy (1894649) (RAFVR) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Sergeant Cecil Arthur Page (1579628) (RAFVR) (Navigator)

The three evaders later reported that “the aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire and the Engineer reported the whole wing was on fire. Bale out was ordered. The aircraft was falling very rapidly and was very bumpy. Hartwig went to the rear exit to bale out The Bomb Aimer was in the nose of the aircraft when the bale out order was given.”


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, 166/6/569
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line

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