WW2 Distinguished Flying Medal and LS&GC Medal Group of Six with Log Books and Original Documents - Master Engineer T.P. Burke, Royal Air Force
- Product Code: MM-5111
- Regiment: Royal Air Force
- Era: WW2 Availability: Out of Stock
A superb second world war DFM and long service group awarded to 1802404 Master Engineer Terence Percy Burke, Royal Air Force.
George VI Distinguished Flying Medal named to 1802404. Sgt. T.P. Burke. R.A.F.
1939-45 Star (with copy Bomber Command clasp) unnamed as issued
Air Crew Europe Star (Clasp - France and Germany) unnamed as issued
WW2 Defence Medal unnamed as issued
War Medal 1939-45 unnamed as issued
EIIR RAF Long Service & Good Conduct Medal named to M Eng. T.P. Burke (1802404). R.A.F.
D.F.M. - London Gazette, 19th September 1944
The official recommendation TNA AIR2/9276 records:
1802404 Sergeant Terence Percy Burke 550 Squadron
Flying hours 112 sorties 20 1/3 Flight Engineer
"On the night of 3rd / 4th May 1944, Sergeant Burke was the Flight Engineer of a heavy bomber of which Flight Sergeant Lloyd was the captain, detailed to attack military barracks in enemy occupied territory. After the attack had been carried out and the captain had set a course for base, the aircraft was hit by flak and set on fire by an attack from an enemy fighter which also put the port inner engine out of action. The aircraft went into a steep and uncontrollable dive refusing to respond to its controls which had been severely damaged in the fighter attack.
The pilot ordered the crew to bail out and the rear, mid upper gunners and bomb aimer donned their parachutes and left the aircraft. Sergeant Burke went to assist his pilot to put on his parachute and it was discovered that by their combined efforts it was possible to pull the aircraft out of its dive. Having succeeded in getting the aircraft back onto an even keel, the pilot cancelled his order to bail out. The engine which had failed could not be feathered and this added to the already great difficulty of keeping the aircraft in flying trim.
Without the assistance of Sergeant Burke and the skilful manner in which he nursed the three remaining engines, it is doubtful whether the pilot could have flown his aircraft safely back to England. This NCO has carried out 20 1/3 sorties against the enemy totalling 112 hours operational flying during which time he has shown a very high degree of skill, courage and initiative in the face of heavy Flak and fighter opposition. For his cool and calculated work, I consider that Sergeant Burke is worthy of the highest praise and that his gallant conduct merits the award of the Distinguished Flying Medal.”
Remarks by Station Commander:
“The whole hearted support and excellent co operation which Sergeant Burke rendered to his captain during this perilous situation is beyond praise. Such prompt action under the most trying conditions was instrumental in saving the lives of the crew and much valuable equipment. I strongly support the recommendation of the Squadron Commander and consider Sergeant Burke worthy of the award of the Distinguished Flying Medal.”
Remarks by Base Commander
“Sergeant Burke’s quick appreciation of the situation together with his cool, prompt and very able assistance rendered to his captain in a most difficult emergency enabled the aircraft with its remaining crew to be saved and brought back safely to base. The great courage and presence of mind displayed by this NCO under the most hazardous conditions is without doubt worthy of the very highest praise. I support the recommendation for his non immediate award of the DFM.”
In relation to the award of his DFM, TNA AIR27/2039 page 5A has a Statement dated 8th May 1944 by Sergeant Moore (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner) to the Intelligence Officer, RAF Station North Killingholm, Lincolnshire:
“After leaving the target area and having bombed successfully, on our return journey the aircraft was hit by flak whereupon the pilot called for the details of damage or casualties over the intercom and no reply being received, Rear Gunner Sergeant Moore was sent to investigate. Halfway down the fuselage he met the Rear Gunner who was bleeding profusely from the face and suffering from shock. Sergeant Moore assisted the Rear Gunner to the wireless operator’s seat and tried to apply a field dressing but the Rear Gunner refused all assistance. ………….Sergeant Moore decided to take over as Rear Gunner and the Navigator attended to the Rear Gunner. On reaching the turret Sergeant Moore found the intercom plug torn away so returned up the fuselage to get the 10 foot lead and was about to enter the turret when a long burst from a fighter shot away the M2S bulge and also the inner fixture of the M2S which was thrown against Sergeant Moore, temporarily pinning him down (releasing himself after a struggle).
The aircraft was in a dive and on fire and Sergeant Moore saw the Gunners with parachutes heading for the entrance door having received orders to bale out. At this moment the pilot regained control and a great deal of the fire had been put out, but flames were still plentiful and Sergeant Moore took on all (fires) from his position to the rear and the Flight Engineer the forward fires with extinguishers, coffee flasks, hands and feet. The Navigator having been badly burnt and suffering from shock could give no navigational assistance so Sergeant Moore plotted a course for the pilot to steer then returned to the rear turret spending 10 minutes there and 5 minutes in the mid upper. He then returned to the W/T set and sent emergency messages to Southampton in code also stating three crew members had baled out and attacked by fighter. He attempted to dress the Navigator’s hands which were badly burnt. The aircraft belly landed and Moore assisted the Navigator through the escape hatch before the aircraft ceased to move as there was a probability of the whole aircraft going up in flames”.
A further account from 550 Squadron history –
“Eighteen aircraft and crews were offered for operations and were accepted. The crews were briefed to attack the Military Barracks at MAILLY. The accepted number of aircraft and crews took off without incident in the usual Squadron style. The weather was clear throughout the journey to and over the target, good visibility and bright moonlight assisted in locating the target, resulting in the target being effectively dealt with. Fires caused by earlier attacks in the MAILLY area were still burning but the Master of Ceremonies had some difficulties in assessing the markers accuracy, with the result that the main force was held up for some minutes. When the order to bomb was finally given, the rush, to quote W/O Knox “D”, was like the starting gate at the Derby! Markers appeared to be accurate and a very good concentration of bombing at once became apparent with one or two healthy fires and smoke clouds rising to a height of 8,000 ft. The flak defences in the MAILLY area were only moderate, although the light flak was more intense than had been seen for some time. Numerous enemy night fighters were present and many combats were seen taking place in the bright moonlight – these combats continued until well on the way homewards. “J” F/Sgt Lloyd had a somewhat “dicey” return journey, about half an hour after having bombed the objective he was attacked by an unidentified aircraft and with the trimming tabs shot away his aircraft became temporarily out of control but managed to shake off the enemy fighter. Five minutes later a second attack set fire to the aircraft bomb bay and fuselage. The order to bale out was given and obeyed by the Mid Upper Gunner Sgt Pearce, Rear Gunner Sgt Crilley and the Air Bomber F/O Yaternick. The aircraft went into a dive which helped to extinguish the flames. Sgt Moore the wireless operator, used all the extinguishers to put out the remaining fire, and when these were exhausted, beat out the flames with his feet and hands. Finding the navigator suffering from severe burns, he rendered first aid and took over the navigational duties, obtained accurate fixes which enabled the pilot to bring back his aircraft safely to England, landing at RAF Station FORD.”
His RAF Certificate of service records the AOC in C’s recommendation mentioned above and an earlier AOC’s Commendation awarded in 1957. In 1957 he was part of 206 Squadron’s detachment to Christmas Island for Operation Grapple, the Atomic Bomb Testing Programme. 206 Squadron’s Shackletons were tasked with Maritime Reconnaissance and enforcing the exclusion zone around the test area. Burke’s log book records a total flying time of over 9 hours on the 19th June 1957 with “Christmas Island Search 1 - Weapon Drop” in the remarks column. This was the third and final test of the Grapple series, Grapple 3, the test of Purple Granite. This was dropped on 19th of June by a Vickers Valiant, the yield was 200 kilotonnes of TNT.
E1802404 Master Engineer (Warrant Officer Aircrew) Terence Percy Burke was born 4th September 1923 in Brentford, Middlesex. He was a draughtsman prior to his enlistment into the Royal Air Force in April 1942. He qualified as Flight Engineer (Lancaster Bombers) 1st November 1943 and joined No 1667 Heavy Conversion Unit 27th December 1943. He joined 550 Squadron 1st March 1944 with his first operational sortie to Stuttgart on the night of 15th March. His subsequent sorties were 22nd March Frankfurt, 24th March Berlin, 26th March Essen, 30th March Nuremberg, 18th April Rouen, 20th April Cologne, 22nd April Dusseldorf, 24th April Karsrruhe, 26th April Essen, 27th April Friedrichshaven, 1st May Lyons, 3rd May Mailly Le Camp - crash landed at Ford, 4 crew missing. 2nd June Calais (Captain still Flight Sergeant Lloyd), 3rd June Bolougne, 5th June Cherbourg, 6th June (D Day) Acheres, 9th June Fleres, 10th June Acheres, 12th June Gelsen-Kirchen, 14th June Le Havre, 19th June recalled after take off, 23rd June Saintes, 24th June Fleres, 4th July early return Navigator sick, 5th July Dijon, 12th July Revingny, 17th July Sannerville (daylight raid), 23rd July Kiel (last operational sortie).
Burke was posted to No 1656 Heavy Conversion Unit as an Instructor on 11th October 1944, posted to 541 Squadron 12th February 1946 at Takoradi, Ghana and to RAF St Athan in May 1948 and discharged from the RAF on its reduction shortly after his last flight aboard a Hastings 16th June 1948.
Burke re-enlisted on 4th September 1949 (keeping his old service number) and attended the Flight Engineer refresher course 24th January 1949 to 23rd April 1949, he also passed the Instructors Technique course 5thMay 1949 to 18th May 1949 and the Winter Survival Leader’s course 15th February to 24th February 1959. He was awarded the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal on 28th August 1962. The last entry in his Flying Log Book is dated 28th October 1965. His service record indicates he was an Air Traffic Controller from this date until he left the service on 1st June 1968. His last flight was in a Shackleton at RAF St Mawgan, his total flying hours amounted to 4,366.25 by day and 1,182.85 by night.
Burke is mentioned in the Middlesex County Times of the 21st of August 1954. On page 2 it states:
“Local Airmen in 40,000 Mile Tour Of The Pacific. Four Maritime reconnaissance Shakleton aircraft on No 206 Squadron Coastal Command (Squadron Leader J D Beresford) left their bases at St Eval Cornwall recently on a 40,000 mile tour during which they will take part in maritime exercises in the Indian Ocean off Ceylon and make a goodwill and training visit to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. Among those taking part are F/O Donald S Marsh, pilot of Pinner, F/Sgt Terence Percy Burke, DFM, Flight Engineer of 18 High Street, Ealing and Sgt Leslie W Smith Air Signaller of 85 Home Farm Road, Hanwell. F/Sgt Burke was in No 1413 ATC Squadron and joined up in April 1942 having served in West Africa. He plays basketball and football for Coastal Command.”
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