Families of WW2 pilots lost in bombing raids sought

Circa 1940: Royal Air Force ground staff prepare to load a bomb onto a Handley Page Halifax Image copyright Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Image caption Halifax bombers like this one, photographed circa 1940, were used in raids over Germany

The families of six World War Two pilots who did not return from bombing raids over Germany are being sought.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said it was trying to trace relatives so they would be able to attend their burial service in Berlin on 27 April.

Three were on Lancaster JB640, which took off on 2 January 1944.

The other three men were part of a seven-man crew on Halifax LK709, which failed to return from a bombing raid on Berlin on 28 January 1944.

The Lancaster crew set off for the German capital on the night of 2 January, but was never heard from again. All were listed as missing, presumed dead.

The squadron had intended to fly 18 Pathfinder Lancasters but only 14 took off and one of those had to turn back due to engine failure.

The three men on Halifax LK709 were recorded as having no known grave and their names placed on the Runnymede memorial.

Eyewitnesses in Germany remembered seeing a Halifax Bomber crashing into a lake on 29 January 1944 and four bodies were subsequently recovered.

The men on Lancaster JB640

  • Flt Sgt Dennis Frederick Burtenshaw - born on 2 July 1923, in Burwood, Sydney, Australia. Married to Bridget Amelia Kelly in Morden, south London. Last known address was Seddon Road, Morden
  • Flt Sgt Kenneth Sidney James Chapman - born in Westbury, Wiltshire, in September 1923. Son of Edgar Sidney Chapman and Daisy Brewer. Had one sister, Olive W M Chapman
  • Pilot Officer John Donald Range Cromarty - born on 29 January 1921 in Liverpool. Parents were Ernest Cecil Cromarty and Margaret Agnes Range. Last known address was Berwick Gardens, Little Sutton, Cheshire

The men on Halifax LK709

  • Flt Sgt Norman Thompson Steele - born on 24 December 1922, in Ashington, Northumberland. Son of Edward and Ann Sankey Murray. Married to Laura Mckie. Last known address Cross Row, Ashington
  • Flt Sgt Arthur Binnie Walker - born on 14 January 1923, in Glasgow, to Arthur and Margaret Walker. Last known address was Battlefield Gardens, Glasgow
  • Pilot Officer William Proffitt White - the son of Tom W P White and Mary Elizabeth Reading. Born in Shotteswell, Warwickshire

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