Halifax L9497 (12/08/1941)

Halifax L9497 was one of five No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Friedrichstrasse Station, Berlin on the night of the 12th / 13th August 1941.

Its seven-man crew comprised:

  • Jack McGregor-Cheers (Pilot)
  • Thomas Atkinson Burne (2nd Pilot)
  • Alistair Alexander Stobie Heggie (Observer)
  • Jack Fuller (WOP / AG)
  • James Blain Anderson (WOP / AG)
  • Vivian Maxwell Markham (Air Gunner)
  • Walter Norman Collins (Flight Engineer)

The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “L9497 encountered numerous concentrations of searchlights and intense and very accurate AA fire. The port outer engine was hit immediately after delivery of attack and the aircraft fell out of control to 6,000 feet when the Captain managed to right it off its back. The intensity of flak made it necessary to climb as quickly as possible, which was managed safely but not without excessive petrol consumption. Two enemy were then seen, one of which attacked with cannon fire but without inflicting damage or casualty. Before another attack could be delivered the damaged engine cut out completely and down went the aircraft again. It was righted as quickly as possible and passed out over the Dutch coast but then had to pass through icing and an electric storm. Both height and speed were maintained only with the greatest difficulty and then, before the English coast was reached, the petrol gauges registered zero. All was prepared for forced landing on the sea but the aircraft continued to fly, the coast was reached still on course for Bircham Newton but engines cut. The aircraft crash landed near a farm at Hindolveston, near Hackford, Norfolk, the pilot being shot out through the roof, but the only member of the crew injured was the second pilot who sustained a broken ankle”

P.4 (Cas), Casualty Branch File

The following Casualty File is available at the National Archives:

AIR 81/8303 Sergeant T A Burne: injured; aircraft crashed at Hinlevestore [Hindolveston] Norfolk on return from operational flight, enemy action, Halifax L9497, 35 Squadron, 13 August 1941.

Injured Personnel

TA Burne (believed to be Canadian, Thomas Atkinson Burne) did not fly with the squadron after this incident

AM Form 1180

The AM Form 1180 (Accident Card) has no further details about the crash

AM Form 78

The AM Form 78 (Movement Card) shows the aircraft was struck off charge of the squadron (although no date is shown).