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John Edmund Burke

1918 to 1944

From a letter by Bill Burke

Houston, Texas

My brother John was born 4 Dec 1918 in Clinton, Iowa. He was commissioned a second lieutenant (and earned his wings) in the Army Air Corps 1 Oct 1943 at Pampa, Texas. The portrait of him that I sent you was taken in Clinton by a commercial photographer, R.H. Beil (who was a friend of John) a few days later when John was home on leave. His group flew from the U.S. to Brazil to North Africa to England. He was killed in action on 17 September 1944 near Eindhoven, Netherlands. His body was recovered and returned to Clinton after the war.

My brother John was an avid amateur photographer and even built his own darkroom in our basement.  He did join the Army Air Corps some months after I was inducted.   We met twice in England.  First he found me at my base and then I visited him at his. [Clinton Herald headline:  BURKE BROTHERS MEET IN ENGLAND.]  He gave me a ride on his plane.  He was a co-pilot on a C-47, towing a glider full of troops over the Netherlands when his plane was hit by German anti-aircraft fire.  The military code name was Operation Market Garden.  It was the basis of the war movie "A Bridge Too Far."    Of the six grandchildren of Edmund Burke to serve in the armed forces in WW II, John was the only one killed in action.

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