|Place||Europe: France, Eure-et-Loir, Dreux|
|Object type||Last Post film|
Australian War Memorial
|Place made||Australia: Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, Campbell|
|Date made||1 October 2016|
Second World War, 1939-1945
Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
|Copying Provisions||Copy provided for personal non-commercial use|
The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (421069) Pilot Officer Thomas Alfred Burnett, No. 90 Squadron, Royal Air Force, Second World War.
The Last Post Ceremony is presented in the Commemorative area of the Australian War Memorial each day. The ceremony commemorates more than 102,000 Australians who have given their lives in war and other operations and whose names are recorded on the Roll of Honour. At each ceremony the story behind one of the names on the Roll of Honour is told. Hosted by Michael Kelly, the story for this day was on (421069) Pilot Officer Thomas Alfred Burnett, No. 90 Squadron, Royal Air Force, Second World War.
421069 Pilot Officer Thomas Alfred Burnett, No. 90 Squadron, Royal Air Force
KIA 11 June 1944
No photograph in collection
Story delivered 1 October 2016
Today we pay tribute to Pilot Officer Thomas Alfred Burnett, who was killed on active service with the Royal Air Force during the Second World War.
Born in Fernleigh, New South Wales, on 15 April 1916, Thomas Alfred Burnett was the son of Robert Somerville Burnett and Lillian May Burnett. He married Jean Lorraine Burnett, of Canterbury, New South Wales, and together they had a son, Arthur.
In December 1941, Thomas Burnett enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force and began training as a pilot. Before long, he embarked for overseas service. As part of the Empire Air Training Scheme, Burnett was one of almost 27,500 RAAF pilots, navigators, wireless operators, gunners, and engineers who throughout the course of the war joined squadrons based in Britain.
After arriving in Britain, Burnett undertook further specialist training before being posted to No. 90 Squadron, Royal Air Force, which was equipped with four-engine Avro Lancaster heavy bombers.
On 11 June 1944 the Lancasters of No. 90 Squadron were taking part in a large raid on the railway yards at Dreux, west of Paris, an operation conducted to support the foothold gained by Allied forces that had landed in Normandy the previous week.
Shortly after bombing the target, the Lancaster in which Burnett was the pilot was shot down. Four members of the crew managed to bail out and survive the war. Burnett was killed, along with two of his British crewmates – Cecil Arthur Page and Dennis Andrew Frederick.
Thomas Burnett was 28 years old. He was buried alongside his crewmates in Dreux Communal Cemetery in France, one of more than 5,000 Australian airmen killed in Europe during the Second World War.
His name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my left, among some 40,000 Australians who died while serving in the Second World War. His photograph is displayed today beside the Pool of Reflection.
This is but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Pilot Officer Thomas Alfred Burnett, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.
Dr Lachlan Grant
Historian, Military History Section
Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (421069) Pilot Officer Thomas Alfred Burnett, No. 90 Squadron, Royal Air Force, Second World War. (video)