at last for airmen lost 60 years ago
By Leo Schlink in London
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
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
Illus: Photo: lancaster bomber aeroplane flight crew - robert ludlow,
jack sutherland, phillip gil, sid griffiths, ivan durston, francis aver and