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Air Commodore W J Burnett (40076)

Wilfred Jasper              b: 8 Nov 1915             r: 21 May 1968                       d: 26 Nov 2006

OBE 14 Jun 1960, DSO 23 Mar 1945, DFC 22 Oct 1940, AFC 2 Jan 1956, MiD - 8 Jun 1944, MiD -xx xxx 1956, MiD 23 Jan 1968, CdeG (P) xx xxx xxxx.

For a list of foreign decoration abbreviations, click here

Act Plt Off (P): 5 Sep 1937, Plt Off: 12 Jul 1938, Fg Off: 12 Jan 1940, Act Flt Lt: xx xxx 1940, Flt Lt (WS): 12  Jan 1941, Act Sqn Ldr: xx xxx 1941 (T) Sqn Ldr: 1 Mar 1942, Act Wg Cdr: xx May 1944, Wg Cdr (WS): 20 Aug 1943, Sqn Ldr: 17 Mar 1947 [1 Sep 1945], Wg Cdr: 1 Jan 1951, Act Gp Capt: 1 Jan 1957?, Gp Capt: 1 Jul 1957, Act A/Cdre: 28 Jan 1962, A/Cdre: 1 Jul 1963.

xx xxx xxxx:                           Trooper New Brunswick Dragoons

 5 Sep 1937:                            Appointed to a Short Service Commission

 7 Mar 1938:                            Staff, No 1 Electrical & Wireless School.

 7  May 1938:                          Staff, No 26 Maintenance Unit

xx xx xxxx::                              U/T Pilot.

xx xxx xxxx:                             Pilot, No 76 Sqn (Hampdens - Finningley)

 2 Nov 1939:                           Attached, No 106 Sqn for operational training (pending posting)

xx xxx 1939:                            Pilot, No 49 Sqn (Hampdens)

26 Sep 1940:                           Instructor, No 14 OTU

xx xxx 1941:                            Flight Commander, A Flt No 408 Sqn.

12 Jul 1941:                             Transferred to the reserve and recalled for service

 4 Jan 1942:                             Flight Commander, C Flt, No 408 Sqn.

16 Jan 1942:                            Recuperating

19 May 1943:                          Air Staff, HQ No 3 Group

xx May 1944:                          Officer Commanding, No 138 Sqn. (Halifax/Stirling)

 8 Nov 1944:                           Air Staff, HQ Bomber Command.

xx xxx xxxx:                             Seconded to BOAC

xx xxx xxxx:                             Staff Officer, RAF Palestine

17 Mar 1947:                          Appointed to Permanent Commission in the rank of Squadron Leader (retaining rank current at the time)

xx xxx xxxx:                             Member, RAF Mission to Greece.

xx xxx xxxx:                             CFI, No ? FTS

xx xxx xxxx:                             Officer Commanding, Flying Wing, RAF Flying College

 1 Jul 1956:                              Officer Commanding, No 148 Sqn.

 1 Jan 1957:                             Group Captain - Training, HQ Bomber Command.

xx xxx 1959:                            Officer Commanding, RAF Marham.

28 Jan 1962:                            Air Adviser to the UK High Commissioner, India.

26 Sep 1963:                           Director of Quartering.

17 Oct 1966:                           AOA, HQ Air Forces Middle East.

Born in Fredericton, New Brunswick and educated at Fort Francis High School, Ontario, he later worked on a dairy farm and joined the New Brunswick Dragoons as a trooper.  During this period he learnt to fly on a De Havilland Moth, fitted with skis and then worked his passage to the UK, where he joined the RAF on a Short Service Commission in 1937.

Returning from Hamburg in Hampden AE393, EQ-G in the early hours of 16 January 1942 he encountered bad weather and missing  his base at Balderton, crashed into the Yorkshire Dales at Dalefoot about 20 miles south-west of RAF Leeming.  Two of the crew were thrown from the aircraft on impact but Burnett and Flight Sergeant Bunting, the observer, were found alive although seriously injured but before medical assistance arrived, Bunting had died.  Burnett was taken down to a farm house and given medical treatment before being transferred to Catterick Garrison Hospital.

After the war he flew flying boats with BOAC to the Far East and on one occasion he was forced to divert to Hainan Island, then in Communist hands, where he found a supply of abandoned American fuel.  He then spent three days transferring fuel into his aircraft used a felt hat as a filter and a saucepan.

Officially forming No 148 Squadron on 1 July 1956 at Marham, it was to be 25 days before he took his crew to the Vickers factory at Wisley to collect the first Valiant B1 for his squadron.  However, before becoming fully worked up, he found himself leading his squadron into action during the Suez campaign, operating from Malta against targets in Egypt.

At  Manby, he took part in navigational flights over the North Pole.  In Aden his skills were utilised in planning the withdrawal from the region the following year.  In retirement he became Secretary to the Unit Trust Association and in 1980 was was awarded the OBE for his work with this organisation.  He indulged in his passions of fly fishing on the Itchen, photography and woodworking, particularly producing Tunbridgeware.

This page was last updated on 03/03/21 using FrontPage 2003

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