Pressemitteilungen 15th July 2003, Ananova


Full honours funeral for 1944 bomber crew



The crew of a Second World War bomber missing for almost six decades after being shot down over Germany have been laid to rest. The six airmen from Lancaster bomber ED 867 lay undetected in a field for 56 years after coming down during a bombing raid to Berlin.

A seventh crewman, Pilot Officer Sidney Griffiths, was discovered dead in woods at Schmachtenhagen soon after the plane went down in January 1944. His colleagues were eventually unearthed by air enthusiasts three miles away in 1999 and identified over the following two years. The six have now been reunited with Pilot Officer Griffiths in the Berlin War Cemetery, where they were buried with full military honours.

Three Britons and four Australians died when the Lancaster, from 467 Squadron of the Royal Australian Airforce (RAAF), was shot out of the skies over enemy territory.

Navigator Flt Lt Fry, from London, and engineer Sgt Francis Aver, from Goole were the RAF airman who died.

The Australians on board were pilot Flight Lieutenant Ivan Durston, wireless operator Plt Off Robert Ludlow and gunners Flt Sgt Phillip Gill and Flt Sgt Jack Sutherland.

RAF Group Captain Nigel Vaughan-Smith said: "The siting of the British war cemetery in fine afternoon sunshine added to the full poignancy of the moment, allowing the families of the crews to say their final farewells after 59 years.

"I feel honoured to have been given the opportunity to say on behalf of the RAF a farewell to these brave and valiant comrades who sacrificed their lives for us so many years ago."