Bourque, Theodore Phillip

Personal Information

Rank P/O
Forename(s) Theodore Phillip
Surname Bourque
Gender M
Age 20
Date of Death 25-04-1944
Next of Kin Son of Wilbert Edward Bourque and Muriel Helen Bourque (née Smith), of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Aircraft Information

Aircraft Handley Page Halifax III
Serial Number LV958
Markings EY-O

Memorial Information

Burial/Memorial Country France
Burial/Memorial Place Benestroff Communal Cemetery
Grave Reference Coll. grave 1-4.

IBCC Memorial Information

Phase 2
Panel Number 133

Enlistment Information

Service Number J/89946
Service Royal Canadian Air Force
Group 4
Squadron 78
Trade Air Gunner
Country of Origin Canada

Other Memorials

Location Adjacent to Clubhouse, Breighton Airfield, East Yorkshire
Country United Kingdom
Memorial Type Inscribed Marble Tablet
Memorial Text Dedicated to all who served at this airfield and gave their lives during World War II
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Location External, All Saints Church, Bubwith, East Yorkshire
Country United Kingdom
Memorial Type Stone Memorial, inscribed Metal Plaque
Memorial Text 78 Sqn 4 Group Bomber Command Yorkshire 1939 - 1945 To All Who Served
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Location Internal, All Saints Church, Bubwith, East Yorkshire
Country United Kingdom
Memorial Type Inscribed Wooden Board, Memorial Chapel featuring Cross made from Halifax wreckage
Memorial Text The 78 Sqn Memorial in the Churchyard was dedicated by the Bishop of Selby on 7th September 1986. RAF Breighton, two miles from this church was the Sqn's home from June 1943 to May 1945
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Location Outside "B" Hangar, RAF Benson, Oxfordshire
Country United Kingdom
Memorial Type Memorial Stone & Inscribed Slate Plaque
Memorial Text In proud memory of all who have lost their lives serving with 78 Sqn Royal Air Force "Nemo Non Paratus - Nobody Unprepared"
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Location Yorkshire Air Museum, Elvington, North Yorkshire
Country United Kingdom
Memorial Type Memorial Gardens, Propeller, Inscribed Marble Tablets
Memorial Text In everlasting homage to the courage of those who have found their winged victory through the skies of Yorkshire
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Miscellaneous Information

Theodore was born on 27 September 1923 at Port Arthur/Fort William, Ontario. His father was born in Manitoba and his mother in Ontario. He had a sister Daphne and his father was shown as Constable E.W. Bourke. The schools he attended were St.Augustine’s, Vancouver. 1929-1938 (General), Oak Bay High, Vancouver 1938-1939 (Grade 9, part grade10). Vancouver Tech.1939-1940 (grade 10). The sports Theodore participated in were rugby and Canadian football and his hobby model aircraft. He also spent a year in the Sea Scouts at Oak Bay. He was a shipyard worker and was a clerk for Kelly Douglas in Victoria, 1940-1941 and then in a steel gang at V.M.D. Shipyards in Victoria 1941-1942 .
Theodore enlisted on 9 November 1942 and after his initial training, embarked from New York on 8 October 1943 bound for the U.K. Arriving at 3 PRC on 17 0ctober 1943 he then proceeded to 1663 CU 20 December 1943, 41 Base 21 January 1944 and 78 Squadron on 24 February 1944. Sadly on 25 April 1944 Theodore was to lose his life from 78 Squadron.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

The National Archives

Fellow Servicemen

Last Operation Information

Start Date 24-04-1944
End Date 25-04-1944
Takeoff Station Breighton
Day/Night Raid Night (6% moon)
Operation Karlsruhe. 637 aircraft, 19 losses (3.0%). A combination of cloud and a strong wind meant that PFF marked too far north of the target. As a result, most bombs fell outside the city and some aircraft bombed alternative targets as they were unable to find Karlsruhe. Opinion is divided about the casualties
Reason for Loss Both port engines failed and the order to bale out was issued. Crashed at Benestroff, ESE of Morhange, France

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Casualty Pack

IBCC is delighted to introduce a unique facility to link the Losses Database to the relevant RAF Casualty Pack on the National Archives website. This project is the result of on-going collaboration between IBCC, the MOD Records Office and National Archives, Kew. This document describes what Casualty Packs are, when they were created, the process of making them available to the public and then goes on to describe the process by which you can view the contents of the packs. Casualty Packs (CPs) were created by the RAF whenever there was serious injury or loss of life associated with operational activity within the RAF. This includes operational flying losses, enemy action due to air raids, road accidents either on station or even off-station if they involved RAF vehicles. Deaths due to natural causes in service or accidents that did not involve RAF vehicles did not generally give rise to a CP.

CPs were originally given a unique reference number by the RAF. Each begins with the letter ‘P’ and is followed by six digits, then an oblique (forward slash) and the finally the year in which the incident took place- for example P396154/42.

The CPs are in the process of being made available to the general public as they are passed from the MOD Records Office, Portsmouth to National Archives, Kew. This process requires some rework to the files which is very time consuming, so the process of making them all available to National Archives will take several years. They are being made available in increasing date order.

Once CPs arrive at National Archives they are assigned a unique AIR81 number, so each CP has both a P-number and an AIR81 number. Both are searchable on the National Archives website under ‘Search the catalogue’ and both are included on the IBCC website.

The AIR81 reference on the IBCC website is a link to the file on the National Archives website. When you click on it, the relevant page will open in a new tab on your browser.

There is currently no plan to digitise AIR81 files, partly because they are fragile and partly because the information they contain can at times be sensitive, even harrowing, since they may contain exhumation reports and even photographs of corpses. Family members wishing to read the AIR81 files relating to their ancestors are advised to exercise caution and be guided by National Archives warnings where appropriate.

There are two means for accessing AIR81 files- to attend in person or to order a copy by post.

To attend in person, the attendee should first create a Reader’s Ticket. This can be done online by following this link: Then click on the AIR81 reference on the IBCC website and click Order in Advance. Enter your Reader’s Ticket number and state the date on which you intend to visit. National Archives will have the file ready for you when you arrive, saving you time. When you visit Kew, you must quote the Reader’s Ticket number and take along two forms of ID- one bearing your signature and one bearing your address. When you view the files, you are permitted to take photographs of each page, should you wish.

Alternatively, if you wish to order a copy by post, please be aware that there is a charge for this service based on the number of pages in the file. Click on the AIR81 reference on the IBCC website and then click Request a Copy. There is an £8.40 charge for National Archives staff to access the file and give you a quotation for the copying service. The process takes around 24 days to complete and can be expensive.

IBCC wishes to thank the staff at the MOD Records Office and National Archives for their engagement and assistance in making this facility available to our website users.