Daily Archives: July 12, 2014

James ‘Jimmy Shaw – Pilot, 1945

JImmy portrait corrected

A portrait of James ‘Jimmy’ Shaw, taken I suspect early in his training. © Malcolm Laing

Many thanks to Malcolm for passing on some wonderful pictures of his Grandfather, James Shaw who flew with his crew from Mepal between February and June 1945. Despite having information about Jimmy’s crew, Malcolm and the family had no idea of their Operational history. In Malcolm’s first email to me, he remarked “My grandfather passed in the mid 90’es when I was young. He would never talk about his service saying that he only ever dropped aid to the Dutch”.

Malcolm was also lucky enough to get the chance to talk to Bert Donald, Jimmy’s Wireless Operator “It was a very humbling experience with Bert telling me he owed his life to my grandfather”.

Later Malcolm also came upon the following on the wonderful interweb – a smal piece by Bert, about the crew he flew with:
Served on Lancasters with 75 New Zealand Bomber Squadron at Mepal, near Ely, Cambs., under the command of Wing Comm. Baigent. Our Squ. Ldr. was an Australian, Hill who had lost the sight of one eye earlier in the War. My radio officer was Fl.Lt. Rhodes, a New Zealander. Our crew was all-British (New Zealand did not have the manpower to keep replacing the losses sustained by a Bomber Squadron during WWII). Our Pilot was Jimmy Shaw of Edinburgh, Scotland – our Navigator was Andy Weir of Edinburgh, Scotland too, and now of Edmonton, Canada – Radio Operator was Bert Donald of Motherwell, Scotland, now of California – Flight Engineer was Ron Webster of Bearpark, a village near Darlington, England – Mid-Upper Gunner was Tom Beall of Kirkcaldy, Scotland – Rear-Gunner was John Craig of Rutherglen, Scotland – our Bomb-Aimer was Chris Dunn of Wimbledon, England. Only two of us are left in 2002. Andy Weir in Canada and myself in the U.S. I do keep in touch with two other members of 75 New Zealand Squadron. Duncan Ross of Denver, Colo. an Irish member of F.Lt. Lukins’ crew and Bill Reid of Newton Mearns, Scotland, Radio Operator on Lukins’ crew“.

The next 3 photographs are from Jimmy’s early training. The first photograph below was taken whilst he was at No.1 ACRC on the 6th May 1942

early training

“No.5 Flight/ 42 intake. ‘C’ Squadron. No.1 ACRC Lords Cricket Ground NW8. 6th May 1942”. © Malcolm Laing

flightschool RH Front

No.1 British Flying Trainig School – No.14 Course. Jimmy is stood far right, send row from the front. © Malcolm Laing



© Malcolm Laing

This third photograph has nothing on its back to provide date or location, but one might deduce from the gentleman stood to the right in an American flying jacket that it was taken whilst training at No.1 BFTS.


Form 540 75(NZ) Squadron RAF February 1945.
14.2.45. Administration
189682 P/O Shaw, J. and crew arrived on posting from No.72 Base

18.2.45. War Ops – Attack Against Wesel
Lancaster Mk.I NN7474 JN-O ‘Dogsbody Again’
F/L Keith Jones and crew
P/O J. Shaw as 2nd Pilot

corrected crew shot

The Shaw crew1945. Back row left to right: John Craig (Rear Gunner) Andrew Wier (Navigator) James “Jimmy” Shaw (Pilot) Chris Dunn (Air Bomber) Front row left to right: Bert Donald (Wireless Operator) Tom Beall (Mid Upper Gunner) Ron Webster (Flight Engineer) Ron Webster did not begin flying with the crew until their 6th Op – given this, its difficult to know whether Ron was part of the crew that arrived at Mepal, or was perhaps a replacement. © Malcolm Laing

19.2.45. War Ops – Attack Against Wesel
HK593 Mk I X
P/O James ‘Jimmy Shaw RAFVR 1549541/189682 – Pilot
Sgt. Andrew Weir RAFVR – Navigator
F/S Christopher Dunn RAFVR – Air Bomber
F/S Bert Donald RAFVR – Wireless Operator
Sgt. L. Player RAFVR – Flight Engineer
Sgt. Thomas Beall RAFVR – Mid Upper Gunner
Sgt. John Craig RAFVR – Rear Gunner

28.2.45. War Ops – Attack Against Gelsenkirchen/ Nodstern synthetic oil refinery
Lancaster Mk.I HK601 JN-D
Sgt. J. Aldridge replaces Sgt. Player as Flight Engineer

1.3.45. War Ops – Attack Against Kamen
Lancaster Mk.I HK601 JN-D
F/Lt. S.E. Cowen joins the crew as Flight Engineer

4.3.45. War Ops – Attack Against Wanne-Eickel
Lancaster Mk.I NG322  JN-F
Sgt. Aldridge returns to the crew as Flight Engineer

7.3.45. War Ops – Attack Against Dessau
Lancaster Mk.I PB820  JN-V
F/S Ron Webster joins the Shaw crew as Flight Engineer

17.3.45. War Ops – Attack Against Auguste Viktoria
Lancaster Mk.I HK593 Mk JN-X
Same crew

20.3.45. War Ops – Attack Against Hamm/Arnsberg – rail targets
Lancaster Mk.I HK563 JN-W
F/S T. Dewsbury joins crew in Mid Under Gun position.

27.3.45. War Ops – Attack Against Hamm (Sachsen)
Lancaster Mk.I PB820 JN-V
Same crew (minus F/S Dewsbury)

29.3.45. War Ops – Attack Against Salzgitter
Lancaster Mk.I HK563 JN-W
Same crew

13.4.45. Gardening – Kiel Bay
Lancaster Mk.I HK601 JN-D
Same crew

18.4.45. War Ops – Attack Against Heligoland Naval Base
Lancaster Mk.I PB820 JN-V
Same crew

20.4.45. War Ops – Attack Against Regensburg
Lancaster Mk.III PB424  JN-O
Same crew

24.4.45. War Ops – Attack Against Bad Oldesloe
Lancaster Mk.I PB820 JN-V
Same crew

3.5.45. Operation ‘Manna’ – Supply drop at The Hague
Lancaster Mk.III PB424  JN-O
Same crew but minus Mid Upper Gunner Tom Beall, as was usual with these fights

7.5.45. Operation ‘Manna’ – Supply drop Delft
Lancaster Mk.I RF129 JN-M
Same crew, But Tom Beale back as Rear Gunner and no John Craig. A/C Lowe as passenger

11.5.45. Operation Exodus – Repatriation Of Prisoners of War from Juvincourt, France
Lancaster Mk.I HK554 JN-T
Full previous crew

12.5.45. Operation Exodus – Repatriation Of Prisoners of War from Juvincourt, France
Lancaster Mk III PB421  AA-E?
Same crew

16.5.45 Operation Exodus – Repatriation of Prisoners of War from Juvincourt, France
Lancaster Mk II NE181 I JN-M ‘The Captains Fancy’
Same crew

23.5.45. Operation Exodus – Repatriation of Prisoners of War from Juvincourt, France
Lancaster Mk.I NG448 A
Same crew

26.5.45. Operation Exodus – Repatriation of Belgian Refugees to Brussels and Prisoners of War to England
Lancaster Mk.I PB820 JN-V
Same crew
“24 Prisoners of War were brought back to Ford. Own Aircraft was u/s at Waterbeach and transferred to JN.B and completed operation. Changed Aircraft at Waterbeach and returned in JN.V”

3.6.45. Viewing the Effects of the Bombing Offensive
Lancaster Mk.I PP663  JN-Z
Same crew plus Cpl. Richardson as passenger

There are no further recorded flights by the Shaw crew, though this is only because after June, the Form 541 ‘Diary of work Carried out’ ceases to be kept. The picture below is a little bit of a puzzle to Malcolm. In itial email discussion, I took reference to ‘Italy’ as perhaps referring to ‘Operation Dodge’. Whilst 75(NZ) Squadron did not fly any ‘Dodge’ flights to Italy, I am aware that my Fathers 1st tour Mid Upper Gunner Thom Darbyshire did at the end of his second tour with 195 Squadron. My initial conjecture to Malcolm was, given the Squadrons divestment of all non RNZAF aircrew and ground crew in anticipation of Tiger Force, Jimmy might have perhaps taken part in ‘Dodge’ flights a month later with another Squadron.

Now, all this is fine to the point I actually look at the scan of the back of this image and see ‘1946’ -duh.

‘Pamigliano 1946’ – I type this into Google and nothing, but a recommendation that perhaps I want ‘Pomigliano’ delivers more results. It would appear that RAF Pomigliano, near Naples, was the home of 293 Squadron, until their disbandment in June of 1943. Funnily enough it seems I was close with my initial ‘Dodge’ guess – Bari and Pomigliano were both ‘Dodge’ bases for the repatriation of Allied soldiers – I was just out by about a year……


Italy 1946

Jimmy at the controls, Pomigliano 1946, possibly with 293 Squadron. © Malcolm Laing