Rebecq Memorial

RAF 550 Squadron Lancaster JA712/BQ-H

107K Click image

P/O E C Purney and Crew

RAF 550 Squadron Lancaster JA712 / BQ-H was shot down by a German night-fighter during the night of 27/28 May 1944 when it was coming back from a bombing mission over Aachen. The aircraft crashed at Rebecq-Rognon (Brabant), 25 km SW of Brussels.

The following crew members were killed and are buried in the cemetery of Brussels-Evere:

Their entries on the 550 Squadron Roll of Honour can be viewed here.

Other information about the flight and the target available here.

Two members of the crew survived:

For more information and photographs of the crew see: here.

The Rebecq Story

Memorial Crew info
The story of the events that took place on the night of 27/28 May 1944 and the consequences for crew and villager alike

The pictures below are from the Rewisbique archives (Rewisbique is the name of the history and genealogy society in Rebecq).
Many thanks to Wilfred Burie for making these and the full text above available.

The Hospice in 1945
The Hospice's chapel and it bells-tower where
was the Lancaster rudder hidden for more than 30 years.


The village of Rebecq in Belgium dedicated a memorial, erected at the place where the plane crashed, to the military and civilian victims of the loss of the aircraft; the unveiling ceremony took place on the 7 May 2011. The formal ceremony was attended by civil authorities, Belgian military and diplomatic authorities and British, Canadian and Italian military invitees. RAF 550 Squadron Association was represented at the ceremony.

Below are a selection of photographs taken on the day of the memorial unveiling; many more are available at the Rebecq Memorial Association web-site: which also contains a wealth of information about the crew, the crash and the aftermath as well as information about other 550 Squadron aircraft and crews lost on Belgium territory.

A link to video reporton Belgium TV (in French) is also an excellent review of the day.


An exhibition at the local museum in Rebecq runs through until 29/5/11. Included in the display is the part of the tailplane on which the MU/AG was carried to the local hospital, which was found in a loft when part of the building was demolished recently (this can be seen in the first photo.

2.95M 2.95M 2.95M
2.95M 2.95M

Unveiling Ceremony


The following photographs have kindly been made available by Don Kentish. At 3Mbytes each they are quite large and therefore clicking on the thumbnails to see the full size picture will take a few seconds.

The group photo are relatives of the people from Rebecq who were taken by the Gestapo, three of whom died.
Don Kentish and George Turner of 550 Squadron Association lay a wreath on behalf of the Association.
Wilfred Burie (grey suit) and Jean Finges (brown jacket) lay their wreath.

2.95M 2.95M 2.95M

The lady in the black dress is the Canadian Embassy representative.
The British Ambassador in the red shirt.

2.95M 2.95M

Unveiling Ceremony

The following photographs have kindly been made available by Louis Michiels.


195K 157K
233K 181K 221K
198K 135K 186K

Formal Ceremony

178K 238K 227K
209K 236K 183K
178K 237K 182K
189K 189K 196K

The Memorial and Wreaths

201K 191K
180K 150K

Memorial Information (historical)

[This was the information posted up during the planning stages for the creation of a lasting memorial in Rebecq.]

The village of Rebecq in Belgium is dedicating a memorial military and civilian victims of the loss of the aircraft. The monument will be erected at the place where the plane crashed. The date of the inauguration is set for Saturday 7 May 2011. A formal ceremony to be attended by civil authorities, Belgian military and diplomatic authorities and British, Canadian and Italian military invitees is planned.

Memorial Crew info Information about the crew, those killed and the survivors
Memorial Project details Information about the Memorial Project, in particular detailing the military and civilian losses and describing the memorial itself.

Wilfred Burie, President "The Belgians Remember Them"

Sadly Wilfred Burie died on Thursday 4th April 2024 after a long illness. Wilfred was 71 years old.

As is very clear from the details above Wilfred was instrumental in raising the Rebecq Memorial in 2011 commemorating the P/O Purney crew lost over Belgium on 27/28 May 1944 on an operation to Aachen. The memorial also recognised the local civilians who suffered as a result of coming to the aid of the crew.

Over the years since 2011 representatives of the 550 Squadron Association visited Rebecq many times to participate in the commemorations that Wilfred and the Rebecq Association organised there. On every occasion the visitors from the UK and elsewhere were warmly welcomed by Wilfred and members of the Rebecq Association. Relatives of the crew also visited and become friends with Wilfred and the many people in Rebecq who have done so much to remember the crew. See Rebecq Commemorations.

In 2012 Wilfred was involved in the return to North Killingholme of part of the aircraft JA712 used to transport one of the injured crewmen to hospital.

Over time the Rebecq Memorial was extended to include all of the 550 crews lost over Belgium (six in total). In 2023 the BBMF Lancaster over-flew the Rebecq Memorial site a worthy recognition of the work done to remember a 550 Squadron crew.

Wilfred later extended his activities to cover all the Allied air-crews lost over the entirety of Belgium, a huge undertaking. See the web-site.

Wilfred will be remembered with affection, here in the UK, in Belgium and further afield for the great things he did to ensure that the fallen flyers of Bomber Command are remembered. God bless you Wilfred, may you Rest in Peace.

Wilfred Burie, mémoire de Rebecq, est mort à 71 ans


Wilfred's funeral took place on Monday 8th April at 2 PM in the Protestant church in Ecaussines. Some photos are shown below, many thanks to Guy De Braeckeleer for making the photographs available.

- - -
- - - -
- - -