Burdette H. Buckingham, 70, retired assistant to the director of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, died Friday at Holy Cross Hospital after a long illness.

He had retired in 1972 after 26 years with the laboratory.

Mr. Buckingham was responsible for much of the liaison with Army and Navy offices in connection with research done at the laboratory for military services. He also coordinated exchange of technical information with the services and arranged technical meetings.

Born in Westchester, N.Y., Mr. Buckingham became interested in radio as a boy and graduated from the Radio Institute of America in 1926. He went to sea as a radio operator on a number of tankers and cargo vessels for two years.

He then entered Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he received a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering in 1931. He taught physics and chemistry in schools in Qunicy, Mass., and earned a master's degree in education from Boston University.

A member of the Army Reserve, Mr. Buckingham was called to active duty in 1940, and served with the Signal Corps. In 1943, he was assigned to Ramgarh, India, to head a communications school training Chinese troops for action in the Burma theater.

In 1945, he became assistant chief of the U.S. Lend-lease branch in Chungking, China. He was responsible for reveiwing the production of materials and inspection of industrial facilities under the lend-lease program in that area.

Mr. Buckingham, who held the rank of colonel was head of the radio division of the Signal Corps Schools at Camp Crowder, Mo., and Ft. Monmouth, N.J., before leaving military service in 1946.

He was the coauthor of a high school textbook, "The physical Sciences."He is survived by his wife, Marjorie M. of the home in Silver Spring; a brother, Dr. L.H. Buckingham, of East Moriches, N.Y., and a sister, Mrs. D.S. Lawrence, of Scituate, Mass.