Flight Sergeant Huia Nelson BURNS

Service No: 425093
Born: Christchurch, New Zealand, 1 November 1921
Enlisted in the RAAF: 8 December 1941 (at Brisbane QLD)
Unit: No. 620 Squadron (RAF), RAF Station Fairford
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 620 Squadron Stirling aircraft LJ475), Gloucestershire, 13 April 1944, Aged 22 Years
Buried: Bath (Haycombe) Cemetery, Somerset
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Robert Nelson Burns and Eileen Dorothy Burns, of Clayfield, Queensland, Australia
Roll of Honour: Brisbane QLD
Remembered: Panel 119, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

At 0104 hours on the 13 April 1944, Stirling LJ475 crashed at Kemsford, Gloucester; five of the crew members were killed and one was injured.

The crew members of LJ475 were:

Flying Officer John Alfred Amy (151235) (Navigator) (RAFVR)
Flight Sergeant Huia Nelson Burns (425093) (Pilot)
Pilot Officer Halliday (230395) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner) Injured
Sergeant George Whitton Lewis (2220049) (RAFVR) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Sergeant Ernest William Tootill (1439013) (RAFVR) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Sergeant Edmund Christopher Willard (1800498) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)

A Court of Inquiry into the accident found that: “at 0055 hours on the 13 April LJ475 called flying control at RAF Fairford, seeking permission to release glider. Permission was given, but on the first circuit the Glider Pilot did not consider his position relative to the airfield satisfactory, and so he asked the Tug Pilot to do another circuit. This was done and the glider was released at not less than 1,000 feet. The Stirling then lost height rapidly in order to drop his rope at 400 feet on the tope dropping area. The rope was dropped probably at about the right height, but the aircraft continued to descend and a few seconds later at a shallow angle and at high speed, crashed and burst into flames. The weather was excellent for flying. There was no evidence to suggest any technical failure. The evidence positively is that this pilot lost his rope by throttling back his motors, and was losing height rapidly after the rope drop but was too late to avoid the crash. It was an error of judgement by the Pilot.”


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, 166/6/502