The Air Annual of the British Empire, 1933 - 4 ( Volume V )
Squadron Leader Cyril Gordon Burge M.I.D., O.B.E., A.R.Ae.S.I., A.Inst.T. ( May 10th, 1893 - 1975 ) was an early, if not the first, Adjutant to R.A.F. Cranwell College, a onetime personal assistant to Marshal of the Royal Air Force Lord Hugh Montague Trenchard G.C.B., O.M., G.C.V.O., D.S.O. ( 1873 - 1956 ), and the " exciting and friendly uncle " who actively encouraged the legless Ace Group Captain Sir Douglas Robert Steuart Bader C.B.E., D.S.O. & Bar, D.F.C. & Bar, D.L., F.R.Ae.S. ( 1910 - 1982 ) to set out on his legendary career.
Cyril Burge was educated at St. Lawrence College ( Kent, England ) and Sandhurst ( Berkshire, England ). Described as a natural " gentleman, leader & organiser ", he was commissioned into the York and Lancaster Regiment in 1913 and was posted to the Overseas Battalion in India.
Promoted Lieutenant on October 28th, 1914, he joined the Royal Flying Corps in November 1915 and reportedly first flew as an Observer with No. 12 Squadron. Later he trained as a pilot, and saw " much of the fighting with the Royal Flying Corps over France and Flanders ". By February 1918, he had accumulated 450 flying hours, and reportedly commanded No. 100 Squadron.
In August 1919, he was granted a Permanent Commission in the R.A.F. with the rank of Lieutenant and was subsequently appointed Adjutant at the former R.N.A.S. Air Station west of Sleaford ( Lincolnshire, England ) where the elite officer cadre of the fledgling service was to be trained. Meantime, he married Hazel McKenzie, sister to Douglas Bader’s mother.
In the spring of 1921, Douglas Bader was invited by the Burges to spend part of the Easter holidays with them at Cranwell. Only just 13 years old, he had never been near aeroplanes before, and when the quiet, good - humoured Cyril Burge sat him in the cockpit of an Avro 504 trainer the thick hair almost vanished as the boy bent over the controls and dials like a terrier. Later he stood for hours in Cyril Burge’s garden watching the bellowing Avros taking off over his head.
Five years later at St. Edward’s School ( Oxford, England ), Douglas Bader was cautiously considering a university career when the visit of an Old Boy then at Cranwell, reminded him of his enjoyable stay there, and he wrote at once to " Uncle Cyril " to find out about becoming a Cranwell Cadet. Cyril Burge had left the R.A.F. College but was then Personal Assistant to A.C.M. Sir Hugh Trenchard, Chief of the Air Staff, and " with the satisfaction of a match - maker, he wrote back saying that his nephew was just the type they wanted and he would do everything he could to help which from the P.A. to the C.A.S., sounded considerable. " Well primed by Cyril Burge, Douglas Bader duly presented himself before the board of interviewers for Cranwell at Burlington House ( London ) in June 1928, and successfully gave the answers " Uncle Cyril " knew the board wanted to hear.
The following December, Cyril Burge retired from the service with a gratuity and over the next few years wrote several published works on British aviation. Following Douglas Bader’s famous crash at Woodley Aerodrome, near Reading ( Berkshire, England ), on December 14th, 1931, Cyril Burge was immediately summoned from nearby Aldershot. He reached the Royal Berkshire Hospital to find that the surgeon Leonard Joyce had removed his nephew’s right leg and that his life was hanging in the balance. The surgeon told Cyril Burge that if Douglas lasted another day he might have a chance provided the left leg did not become sceptic.
At length Douglas Bader came round, and, examining him, Leonard Joyce recognised signs of incipient septicaeima in the left leg. With the mother close to hysteria and with no time to lose, the surgeon sought Cyril G. Burge’s permission to cut off the remaining leg. It was the only chance and Cyril Burge instantly nodded his assent.
Squadron Leader Cyril Burge representing the Air Targets Sub - Committee of Aerial Intelligence reported that the amount of water consumed in the whole of Germany was only three times that of the Ruhr and that the bulk of it was obtained from one large reservoir contained by a single large dam known as the Möhne Dam. He added that there were also four or five other reservoirs in Germany which fed the inland waterways. The destruction of which was likely to leave the waterways high and dry which would severely effect the German transportation system. It also seemed reasonable to believe that the damage caused would be extremely difficult to put right.
( sources : The Aviation Forum, dnw.co.uk, Wikipedia )