Pressemitteilungen 11 JUL 2003, Harald Sun

 

War crew find rest Berlin buries Aussies

 

By Leo Schlink, London 


FOUR Australian World War II airmen will be buried with full military honours in Berlin on Monday.
The ceremony will take place 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, died 40km north of Berlin on January 29, 1944.
With them were three British crew: navigator Harold Fry, flight engineer Francis Aver and bomb aimer Sidney Griffiths.
The Lancaster ED 867 plane took off from its base in Lincolnshire after midnight.
It was shot down about three hours later on its way to Berlin.
A search found Pilot Officer Griffiths' body.
But the remains of the rest of the crew were found only two years ago.
Pilot Officer Griffiths was buried near the crash site before his body was transferred to Berlin's 1939-45 war cemetery.
His crew mates will be buried near his grave on Monday.
A service will be held at the crash site, near Oranienburg.
RAAF personnel and members of the Queen's colour squadron of the Royal Air Force will lead the funeral procession.
Last Post will sound and a piper will play a lament.
Several of the dead airmen's relatives are expected to attend the service.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission, which cares for scores of cemeteries in Europe, will provide headstones.
There is already a UK memorial for the crew at Runnymede Memorial, overlooking the Thames River on Cooper's Hill.
The fallen airmen were part of the famous RAAF 467 squadron, which boasted 20 Lancaster bombers at its peak.
The 467 squadron set wartime records and took part in nearly every major effort of the bombing campaign over Germany.
It also helped clear a corridor for Allied invasion troops on the Cherbourg Peninsula during the Normandy campaign.
Five of the squadron's members were awarded Distinguished Service Orders.
The group also attracted 146 Distinguished Flying Crosses, two Conspicuous Gallantry Medals and 36 Distinguished Flying Medals.
But losses were also high -- 115 crews were lost, 105 of which were listed as missing in action, and the chances of completing a tour of duty were considered to be extremely low.