Commander Robert Andrew Burg
COMMANDER ROBERT ANDREW BURG was born in December 1884 in Cheyenne County, Nebraska. After graduating High School and while attending the state university, he was appointed as a midshipman at the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, where he excelled, graduating in 1908.
Prior to WW1, he may have worked on submarine construction, which possibly took him into the U.S. submarine forces during the Great War. At the close of hostilities, Burg qualified himself as an expert in naval radio and then took up aviation, becoming second in command of the aviation forces at San Diego, California. At the time of his death, he was Assistant Naval Attache to the American embassies in London, Paris, Berlin and the Hague.
On 21st September 1926, Major Clarence L. Tinker, Assistant Military Attache for Aviation at the U.S. Embassy and Commander Robert Andrew Burg, Assistant Naval Attache, took off from Kenley at noon in their DH4b, an American service machine kept for use by embassy officials.
They didn’t get very far before the aircraft developed engine trouble. Witnesses on the ground became alarmed as it flew low over Caterham valley, towards the cliffs of the chalk quarry, which it narrowly avoided, only to clip the bushes at the top and flip over, coming to rest on top of the hill at Riddlesdown, only a few yards from the quarry’s edge, and bursting into flames, almost opposite the site of the Rose and Crown Hotel.
Tinker had survived the crash and later received the Soldier’s Medal for his unhesitating bravery in rescuing Burg from the burning wreck.
Both men were taken to Purley War Memorial Hospital where Commander Burg succumbed to his injuries a week later with his wife, Alice Claire (nee Elliot) at his side. He was 41 years old when he died.