Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Roland 'Monty' Burton AFC 1918-1999

Monty Burton became the first man to fly from London to New Zealand in under 24 hours, when with his navigator Flight Lieutenant Don Gannon he won the 1953 London to Christchurch air race in an English Electric Canberra jet bomber in 1953, winning the Britannia Trophy.
Monty grew up in Buenos Aires where his father worked in oil prospecting and then in London where he was sent to school. He was apprenticed to an engineering firm but the war gave him the opportunity to fly with the RAF. Part of his training was with the U.S. Army Air Corps, and he was subsequently an instructor on the Mosquitoes.
Afterwards he worked with the RAF Photo Reconnaissance Unit. Monty piloted the Canberra on intelligence and surveillance missions and in 1952 when large areas of East Anglia and The Wash were flooded, he took some of the first aerial pictures which enabled an assessment of the scale of countermeasures needed to control the disaster. For this work he was awarded the Air Force Cross.
R.L.E.Burton retired from the RAF as a Squadron Leader in 1958 and joined a private aerial survey company, Hunting Surveys.