Burgham, Allen Russell

Date of birth:
October 29th, 1920 (Onehunga, New Zealand)
Date of death:
November 10th, 2011 (Kingston/Ontario, Canada)
Nationality:
New Zealander

Biography

Royal New Zealand Navy Volunteer Reserves.

Allen Russell Burgham was born as son to A.J. Jack Burgham and Ellen Burgham on October 29th, 1920.

Allen Burgham entered service with the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF). In March 1941 he was transferred to the Fleet Air Arm (FAA). May 1st, he left for Great Britain to be trained at EFTS Luton, Bedfordshire. Afterwards he left for Canada to be trained at SFTS Kingston where he was promoted to Pilot Officer in May 1942. Back in Great Britain, he took up advanced training at OTU Yeovilton, Sommerset and at St. Merryn, Cornwall. December 1942, he received his operational posting with 804 Squadron, flying the Hawker Sea Hurrican IIc. June 1943, he was transferred to 835 Squadron and served aboard HMS Battler, HMS Ravager and HMS Chaser respectively. In December, his unit was transferred to HMS Nairana. March 1944, Burgham was promoted to Flight Lieutenant and on May 26th, he shot his first enemy aircraft. September 1944, 835 Squadron underwent conversion training to the Grumman Wildcat VI for escort missions to Murmansk. March 31st , 1945, the unit was equiped with the Wildcat as well as with the Fairey Swordfish. Back in Great Britain, the unit was disbanded and the Wildcat pilots ended up in 821 Squadron.

After World War Two, Burgham returned to New Zealand. He left the military service in 1946. Later he moved to Canada and there joned the Canadian Naval Air Service. He became Commanding Officer to the Royal Canadian Navy's VC 921 Squadron in 1952.

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Periode:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Temporary Lieutenant (Acting)
Unit:
No. 835 Squadron, H.M.S. Nairana
Awarded on:
October 17th, 1944
Action:
Awarded:
"For good service, courage and skill in the air defence of a convoy on the 26th May 1944. When an enemy aircraft approached the convoy, Lieutenant Burgham intercepted it, and although the enemy dived low over the sea, this officer succeeded in shooting it down in flames . On the previous day Lieutenant Burgham's section had engaged and driven off an enemy aircraft."

Details:
On this occaision he shot down a Junkers Ju 290 of Fern Aufklärungsgruppe 5 over the Gulf of Biscay
Mentioned in Despatches
Periode:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Temporary Lieutenant (Acting)
Unit:
No. 835 Squadron, H.M.S. Nairana
Awarded on:
March 20th, 1945
Distinguished Service Cross (DSC)
Action:
Citation:
"For gallant services in the escort of a convoy to North Russia. Lieutenant Burgham took off from H.M.S. 'Nairana' at dusk on 12th December, 1944, to intercept an unknown number of enemy aircraft. He was fully aware of the hazards he was undertaking. Owing to the failing light he was unable to intercept the enemy, and he was eventually landed on in complete darkness. This officer's gallantry and skill are worthy of the highest praise."

Details:
The London Gazette dated 20th March 1945.
Citation Letter dated 27th March 1945
Periode:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
October 11th, 2006
Arctic Emblem

Sources

  • Photo 1: Ian Burgham
  • Photo: Ian Burgham
  • - Fifth Supplement to The London Gazette of Friday 16th March 1945, Issue 36992, dated 20th March 1945
    - Citations DSC en MID
    - The New Zealand Herald

Photo