German archaeologists keen to return cap badge to Bunbury war victim's family

IN the middle of the night on March 31, 1944, a World War II plane was shot down over Germany.

Four crew members were killed, including the only Australian on board. 

That man was Flight Sergeant Ernest Hugh Birch from the Royal Australian Air Force, son of Harold and Victoria Birch of Bunbury. 

A two-week archaeological dig is currently underway at the crash site of the British Halifax bomber, with the aim of uncovering relics worthy of protection and investigation.

The dig has turned up a Royal Australian Air Force cap badge which is believed to have belonged to Flight Sergeant Birch. 

Archaeologist Bernd Steinbring contacted the Bunbury Mail in an effort to find any remaining relatives living in the city. 

“We generally would like to hand over the cap badge and all further personal effects of the crew members which may be found on site, to the respective families,” Mr Steinbring said. 

“We would also be very interested in all kind of information or photographs concerning Flight Sergeant Birch.”

Bunbury RSL president John Gelmi said Birch was a familiar name to the local league and he believed the search for local relatives would be a success. 

Flight Sergeant Birch was buried at Hannover War Cemetery in Germany. 

Do you have any information that could help this investigation? Contact the Bunbury Mail on 9722 5563.