Personnel Index - Detail
6/7 December, 1940; NIGHT PATROL/AERODROMES:
After four nights of waiting, 5 of the squadron's night patrol aircraft took off to 'destroy enemy aircraft', (those attacking Bristol) in conjunction with 15 Hampdens from other squadrons.
A 49 Squadron aircraft which failed to return was piloted by Sgt John Shaw (P4404). Whilst attacking a German airfield (in France) the Hampden received extensive flak damage, which resulted in the aircraft crash landing in trees and heavy snow some 50 miles south of Paris. All 4 crew members survived but with some needing hospital treatment, so the crew asked a helpful French family to inform the Germans.
It was from Stalag Luft that John Shaw attempted to escape by using the 'invisible man' act, which involved crawling across the snow to the wire covered in a white sheet. Spotted by one of the guards, John stood up and raised his hands in surrender and turned to face the German guard who then shot and killed the 23 year old pilot. The Germans did hold an inquiry into the incident, but its conclusions are not recorded. John Shaw was buried with full military honours.
Hampden P4404 (EA-R)
Sgt J.C. Shaw Pilot (Murdered)
F/L B.H. Evans P/Nav (Murdered)
Sgt D. Young W/AG (P.o.W.)
Sgt W.K. O'Leary W/AG (P.o.W.)