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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.


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75 Squadron crest
22/23.06.1943 No. 75 Squadron Stirling I EF399 AA-O Fl/Sgt. Kenneth A. Burbidge

Operation: Mülheim

Date: 22/23rd June 1943 (Tuesday/Wednesday)

Unit: No: 75 (New Zealand) Squadron R.A.F.

Type: Stirling I

Serial: EF399

Code: AA-O

Base: RAF Newmarket, Suffolk

Location: Roosedoms Road, Markelo, Holland

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Kenneth Alfred Burbidge NZ/412200 RNZAF Age 22. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. George Lockey 1142645 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Nav: Fl/Sgt. Walter Frederick Wilcockson NZ/42314 RNZAF Age 34. Killed

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Andrew James McEwin NZ/417077 RNZAF Age 25. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Donald Ernest Martin NZ/413872 RNZAF Age 26. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Gibson Cameron 1304742 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Kenneth Fazackerley Shaw RAFVR Age 22. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Took off at 23.37 hrs from RAF Newmarket in Suffolk to bomb the German city of Mülheim - a bomber force made up with 242 Lancasters, 155 Halifaxes, 93 Stirlings, 55 Wellingtons and 12 Mosquitoes - 557 aircraft in total.

The city was seriously damaged, the bombing had cut all communications with Oberhausen, with which Mülheim was linked for air-raid purposes. No one could get through, not even cyclists, the only possible way in which they could communicate was with foot messengers. The total damage was reported as 578 people killed on the ground, 1,174 injured. 1,135 houses were destroyed with a further 12,637 damaged. Various other buildings were hit including 41 public buildings, 27 schools, 17 churches  and 6 hospitals. It has been reported that 64% of the town was destroyed.

                      

Above left to right: Fl/Sgt. Burbidge, Fl/Sgt. Wilcockson, Fl/Sgt. Martin, Sgt. Cameron and Fl/Sgt. McEwin (courtesy Darryl Robertson) 

This came at a huge loss to the Allies with 35 aircraft being lost. 202 aircrew killed, 34 being made Prisoners of War with 3 aircrew evading capture.

75 Squadron were particularly hard hit on this operation, losing some 4 aircraft with crews, the others being:
Stirling III BK810 AA-G, Flown by P/O. Francis M. McKenzie RNZAF killed with one other crew member, 5 being made prisoners of war.
Stirling III EF408 AA-P, Flown by Fl/Sgt. Benjamin B. Wood RAF Killed with all other six crew.
Stirling III EH889 AA-Z, Flown by Fl/Lt. Thomas F. McCrorie RAFVR Killed with all other six crew.

This Stirling EF399 was thought to have been hit by flak and then intercepted whilst the pilot was trying to return back to England. They reported at 02.25 hrs that they had been badly damaged, then at 02.47 hrs they were attacked at 4,300 mtrs by Hptm. Prinz zur Lippe-Weissenfeld 2 km. south of Markelo. All the crew were subsequently killed in either the crash that followed or in trying to escape from the aircraft.

It is hoped that a reunion will be taking place on the 70th anniversary of the crash and we would like all relatives to contact us for further details. In particular the relatives of Sgt. George Lockey, Sgt. Gibson Cameron and Sgt. Kenneth Shaw. We await further information on this from Mr. Darryl Robertson and Keith Burbidge who are trying to organise the event. 

                      

Relatives at the memorial for the Stirling crew of EF399 (courtesy Darryl Robertson)

                     

Above Left to Right: Mrs Hilary Troupe, Mayor Hans Kock, N.Z. Amb. Hon. Mr. George Troup, Linda Feary (relative of Fl/Sgt. Burbidge), Keith Burbidge (brother of Fl/Sgt. Burbidge) Mr. Benny Schreurs. Taken during their first emotional visit to Markelo Cemetery in 2010.

                       

Left Mr. Darryl Robertson with Ken Burbidge (courtesy Nelson News via Darryl Robertson)

                                              

3News from New Zealand covered the story of the memorial in a bulletin

                     

Crew graves at Markelo Cemetery (courtesy Darryl Robertson)

Burial details:

Fl/Sgt. Kenneth Alfred Burbidge. Markelo General Cemetery Plot 4, Row C, Grave 13. Son of Alfred William and Alice Jessie Burbidge, of Byfleet, Surrey, England.

Sgt. George Lockey. Markelo General Cemetery Plot 4, Row C, Grave 15. Son of Mr and Mrs. Lockey, of Granville Avenue, Young Eaton, Notts, England.

Fl/Sgt. Walter Frederick Wilcockson. Markelo General Cemetery Plot 4, Row C, Grave 17. Son of Albert George and Mabel Maude Victoria Wilcockson, of Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand, husband of Reno Anna Wilcockson, of Christchurch.

Fl/Sgt. Andrew James McEwin. Markelo General Cemetery Plot 4, Row C, Grave 14. Son of John Andrew and Catherine Flora McEwin, of Waiuta, Nelson, New Zealand.

Fl/Sgt. Donald Ernest Martin. Markelo General Cemetery Plot 4, Row C, Grave 16. Son of Frederick Ernest and Hypatia Ethel Martin, husband of Hazel Maud Martin, of Otahuhu, Auckland, New Zealand.

Sgt. Gibson Cameron. Markelo General Cemetery Plot 4, Row C, Joint grave 11-12. Son of David B. and Margaret R. Cameron, of James Street, Perth, Scotland.

Sgt. Kenneth Fazackerley Shaw. Markelo General Cemetery Plot 4, Row C, Joint grave 11-12. Son of Mr. and Mrs. W. R. Shaw, of Headlands Drive, Prestwich, Lancashire, England.

Researched for Darryl Robertson, Keith Burbidge and all relatives of this crew. We would like any relatives of the crew to contact us with any further information. 

With thanks to the following, Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol's. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vol's. 1 and  2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Acknowledgements: Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives and Fred Paradie - Paradie Archive (both on this site), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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