15th December 2014
"On this day, just after 3pm, 70 years ago, my Grandad: S/Sgt Robert Burry lost his life when the B17 he was the Ball Turret Gunner for, crashed, killing all on-board.
Grandad was just 10 days short of his 23rd birthday (Christmas Day). He would never meet his son, my Dad, born six weeks after the crash.
A report written after the crash from a crew member who bailed out reads as follows:
(page one missing).. to our base in England as fellow crew members from a raid on Kassel, Germany. The ship had been severely damaged by flack. Our number one engine was shot out and the fuselage had been badly shot out. There was considerable doubt in all minds of the members of the crew as to our ability to make our base. We were flying in zero-zero weather and were unsure as to our exact position. On reaching the coast of England our pilot, Lieutenant Harris, felt that his ability to land our damaged airplane safely was highly in question and passed the word round to we crew members to bail out if we were so inclined. My friend, Sergeant Burry, decided to stay with the ship, whilst I elected to bail out, which I did. To the best of my knowledge, almost immediately after leaving the ship it cashed into a radar tower about six miles from our home base, located near Rushdon, England. All members of the crew, including Sergeant Burry were killed in the crash.....
In August this year, a team from Sywell Aviation Museum, excavated the crash site, they are hoping to have a display ready by the time they open next Easter. They also supplied me with the crash report from that day. It details how the farmer, whose field they crashed into, saw them hit the stay of the radar mast in the fog. A wing was ripped from their plane, they burst into flames and hit the ground a few seconds later.
A boy from the local school visited the site the evening of the crash and came away with the Navigator' cap. This is now on display at the museum.
From Daventry Express:
American Airmen Remembered
Nine American Airmen who lost their lives after crashing in to the Gee Mast on Borough Hill in 1944 after returning from a bombing mission in Germany were remembered during a special service at the War Memorial, Abbey Street, Daventry on Sunday 23rd August 2015.
The service at the site of the War Memorial began with a colourful parade led by the Mayor, Deputy Mayor, two Macebearers the Deputy Lieutenant of Northamptonshire, Lt Col Ford Commander 422nd Medical Squadron USAF RAF Croughton, Chairman of the District Council, Canon Michael Webber and Deacon Janet Thomas and the standard bearers and representatives from The Royal British Legion, The Army Cadets and The Air Cadets.
Lt Col Ford reminded those present of the importance of these occasions to remember all those who have lost their lives in conflicts, and that this is a time for both remembrance and reconciliation.
The Son of S/Sergeant Robert L. Burry spoke fondly of the lives that were lost and dedicated the memorial to his father and his friends.A reception was held afterwards at the Town Council offices and presentations were given by Romer Adams, representative from Sywell Aviation Museum and Brian Francis a veteran from the 8th Air Force Historical Society.
For more information and to see the excavated artefacts of the B-17 Flying Fortress, visit Daventry Museum where all the items are on display from 25th August until 17th September 2015.
Gravesite Details Entered the service from Michigan.