Pressemitteilungen 17 JUL 2003, Courier Mail


Lost airmen finally laid to rest

BRISBANE builder Ian Ludlow, 59, yesterday laid to rest his uncle Bob -- 59 years after his Lancaster bomber was shot down on a mission over Germany in 1944.
The wireless operator was buried with full military honours in the Berlin war cemetery alongside five other airmen -- three Australians and two Britons.
Their remains were unearthed two years ago when German historians found the wreckage of their Lancaster bomber in a forest outside Berlin.
They were given a formal burial in front of a group of relatives flown in for the ceremony from Australia and Britain by the RAAF, the RAF and the Australian and British governments.
``Bob's photo was always up on the wall and we always used to ask about Uncle Bob and all we were ever told was that he was missing in action, presumed dead, in Germany and it was never, ever talked about,'' Mr Ludlow said.
``After it was confirmed that his plane had been found, it was only then that Dad spoke about his brother. It's obviously been a relief for him to know.''
The Lancaster ED 867 took off from RAF base Waddington in England in the early hours of January 29, 1944, to bomb Berlin.
But less than three hours later it was shot down 40km north of its target, killing all seven men on board.
RAF airman Sid Griffiths' body was found soon after and buried in a local cemetery, before being reinterred in the war cemetery.
But the other men were simply listed as missing in action, their fates unknown for decades.
The others laid to rest yesterday were pilot Ian Durston, 32, from Brisbane, upper gunner Phillip Gill, 20, also from Brisbane, rear gunner Flight Sergeant Jack Sutherland, 22, of Adelaide, and RAF navigator Harold Fry and flight engineer Francis Aver.
Also present at the burial yesterday was David Sutherland, 60, a sales representative from Adelaide, who was nine months old when his father Jack died.
``A friend of mine said `Your father is going to be so happy when you get there. He's been lying there waiting for almost 60 years for you to come and see him. Now you're coming across to see him, he's going to be so happy and so are you','' Mr Sutherland said. ``It is an emotional time.''
More than 20,000 Allied airmen are still listed as missing.

Caption:  RIP at last...a coffin containing the remains of one of the missing airmen is carried during the burial service at the Berlin war cemetery.