Relatives of airman sought

21:26, Jan 14 2014
Ernest Wilfred Burton
RELATIVES SOUGHT: Ernest Wilfred Burton

Researchers in the UK are looking for the relatives of a Kiwi airman killed during a training flight over Scotland in April 1918.

Ernest Wilfred Burton died in a mock dog-fight between two Sopwith Camels that collided at Montrose where he is buried.

The other dead pilot was Arthur Payne from Castleton in England where an exhibition is being planned to commemorate the outbreak of World War One.

Arthur was born in the area and curators of the exhibit are including his story in the display.

They are also keen to get more details about Ernest and hope to track down family members. 

"We would very much like to know a little more about Lieutenant Burton so that we can honour him too,"Castleton Historical Society and Museum spokeswoman Maria Kenyon says.


Ernest was named after his father, magistrate Ernest William Burton, who was stationed at various courts throughout the country during the early 20th century.

Newspaper reports of the tragedy  link him to Whangarei where his dad was at that time presiding over an area stretching from Waipu to the North Cape.

But his formative years were mostly spent in Auckland.

Ernest had at least five siblings including Ellen, who was named after their mother; Pearl who married a man named John Heise and Olive, who married Hubert Oberlin-Brown.

A brother, John, worked as a solicitor in Rotorua and another was named Charles.

Ernest was born in 1893 and attended Kings College in Auckland between 1910 and 1912.

He was also a member of the College Rifles Rugby Football Club in Remuera where his name is among those listed on a roll of honour.

He enlisted with the Australian Imperial Forces at Sydney in August 1914 and was a Private with the signalling corp during the first landing at Gallipoli a year later.

Ernest transferred to the Australian Flying Corps in June 1917 and was a lieutenant at the time of his death aged 25.

An investigation into the accident found it was caused through the misjudgement of one, or both, of the pilots.

Email if you have any more information about Ernest.

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