Pressemitteilungen 11 JUL 2003,  The Advertiser


Final salute at last for airmen lost 60 years ago

By Leo Schlink in London

FOUR Australian World War II airmen will be buried with full military honours in Berlin on Monday - almost 60 years after they were shot down on a bombing mission over Germany.
Pilot Ivan Durston, 32, wireless operator Robert Ludlow, 31, upper gunner Phillip Gill, 20, and rear gunner Jack Sutherland, 22, were lost 40km north of Berlin on January 29, 1944.
Also aboard the doomed flight were three British crew - navigator Harold Fry, flight engineer Francis Aver and bomb aimer Sidney Griffiths.
A search for the wreckage of the Lancaster ED 867, which took off from the Waddington base in Lincolnshire soon after midnight, found only the body of pilot officer Griffiths.
The remains of the rest of the crew were found two years ago by a group of German amateur historians.
``The area (around Oranienburg, north of Berlin ) had been set aside for military manoeuvres by the East German Army and was only opened up to the public recently,'' one of the historians, Mario Schultze, said at the time.
``We found parts of 14 warplanes that had crashed around the town. We decided it would be our mission to identify them all so relatives could know what happened to their missing men.''
Formal identification of the remains was conducted by a team of forensic scientists from Canberra.
The air crew, part of Royal Australian Air Force 467 squadron, were heading for Berlin.
Griffiths was initially buried in a cemetery at Birkenwerder, near the crash site, before his remains were transferred to the Berlin 1939-45 war cemetery.
His crewmates will be buried near his grave on Monday.
A memorial service, which will feature the unveiling of a plaque by Australia's chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Angus Houston, will be conducted at the crash site, followed by a burial service in Berlin.

Caption:  DOOMED: The Lancaster bomber flight crew Robert Ludlow, Jack Sutherland, Phillip Gill, Sid Griffiths, Ivan Durston, Francis Aver and Harold Fry.
Illus:  Photo: lancaster bomber aeroplane flight crew - robert ludlow, jack sutherland, phillip gil, sid griffiths, ivan durston, francis aver and harold fry