550 Squadron Photos

F/Lt D A Shaw DFC And Bar and Crew

F/Lt David Arnod "Jock" Shaw flew with the following crew:

(although in the ORB Sgt Griffiths is frequently listed flying as MU/AG while ("Buck") Buckingham is listed as flying as R/AG).

The various pictures below show F/Lt Shaw and crew (and some others besides).

Click image F/Lt "Jock" Shaw, crew and ground crew, about August 1944
With ED905 /BQ-F ("Fox"), "Press on Regardless"
L-To-R (standing): TBA, "Buck" Buckingham (MU/AG), S Gartland (A/B), E J Griffiths (R/AG), A Llanwarne (W/Op), R ("Ginger") Harris (Nav), D A ("Jock") Shaw (P)
seated: ground crew

"Fox" went on to complete 100 raids
70 bombs painted on the nose - white bombs indicate daylight raids, dark bombs night raids
Click image F/Lt "Jock" Shaw and crew before taking off in "Press on Regardless" on its 100th operational flight (the cockpit tally now recording 99 ops)
Extreme left: F/Lt Stone. Extreme right: S/Ldr Redmond and P/O Murray
Other air-crew are likely the F/Lt J P Morris crew who flew with F/Lt Shaw on this op. Thus the following tentative identification (based on the F/Lt Morris crew photo):
Back-row, L-to-R: F/Lt Stone, ???, Sgt Byrne(?), Sgt Furber, F/Lt Shaw, F/Lt Morris, Sgt Bailey(?), Sgt Dennis(?), Sgt Hooper, S/Ldr Redmond and P/O Murray (missing F/O Leonard, Nav in the Morris crew)
Front row: ground-crew
Click image Lancaster ED905 (Fox/Press on Regardless) before taking off on 100th operational flight (the cockpit tally recording 99 ops)
In the cockpit - Pilot F/Lt D A "Jock" Shaw DFC and Bar

The 99th op was 31st October to Cologne, and the 100th on 2nd November to Düsseldorf.
So there is the time-frame for this photo; it was taken either on 1st or 2nd Nov after the ground-crew had been to work with the paint-brush!
Click image Lancaster ED905 "Press on Regardless" taking off on 100th operational flight
Pilot F/Lt "Jock" Shaw

Doubts about whether this was ED905 taking off on the 100th op have been raised in a number of publications, including Norman Franks "Ton-Up Lancs".
The first doubt was the actual date of the 100th op, either 2nd Nov 1944 to Düsseldorf or 4th Nov to Bochum . F/Lt Shaw is recorded as flying on the 2nd but not the 4th, and the 2nd Nov trip to Duesseldorf is the most likely date for the 100th op.
The second doubt is the date of the photo itself. The 2nd and 4th Nov ops both took off in the evening past sunset, but the photo was taken in daylight, with clear shadows.

The following information is from John Eppel (Nav in F/O J Harris crew):
My first identifications were, Bob Bickford, our Australian F/Sgt Wireless Operator, at near left, with an RAF Sergeant on his right, perhaps Bill Waddell or Brian Barby, our Gunners. Near centre, 
the Bomb-Aimer of F/O Shenkers crew, at the edge of the runway, S/Ldr Redmund in the Irvin jacket, and S/Ldr Caldow in the raincoat.
When I obtained a print of the oiginal photo many years ago, when my memory was better, I had similar queries.
But whether this was 2nd or 4th November raised doubts since we were on these 2 operations to Dusseldorf and Bochum and hence all members of our crew were on BQ-D already airborne or waiting our turn 
for take-off, hence could not be waving to others at the end of the runway.

Further than this John went on to identify when the photo might have been taken:
The photo of ED905 on take-off was taken on 10th September 1944 not 2nd November. Pilot was F/O J Dawson with F/Lt G Pyke as 2P on his first operation.
On this same operation to Le Havre our pilot F/O J Harris flew as 2P to F/O Hussey on his first operation.
On this same operation to Le Havre F/O H Shenker flew as 2P to Fl/Lt F Steele on his first operation.
Members of Harris and Shenker crews were at runway to wave good luck to their pilots and the 2 flight commanders may have been doing the same for F/Lt Pyke who became Acting Flight Commander A Flight 
in my log book. All of us had been posted to 550 ex 1LFS on 31 August/1 September.
Since the photo existed it was "used" as publicity for the 100th op flight by F/Lt D Shaw on 2nd November and on page 268 of Bomber Squadrons of the RAF for 550 Squadron although the date 
is given as 4th November, and also to simulate a FF operation on page 72 of Lancaster at War No.4.
The Harris and Shenker crews could not have been by the runway on either 2nd or 4th November since they were also flying. 
In conclusion John noted:
After 70 years we have revealed a fudge by a member of the NKL Photographic Section [...]
The "we" referred to being Catherine McIntosh (daughter of Jock Shaw who supplied the log book page confiming 2nd Nov 1944 as being the date of the 100th op), John himself (who was able to identify a number of people from the F/O Harris and F/O Shenker crews doing the waving and could not therefore have been had it been the real 100th op date as they would have been airbourne on the same op) and Jenny Dias who was able to confirm her father Bryan Barby as being one of the wavers).
Click image F/Lt "Jock" Shaw log book recording the date and target for the "100th and last Op" of ED905 "F"
With thanks to Catherine McIntosh for making available a page from her father's flight log
Click image F/Lt "Jock" Shaw and crew
Left to right: Roy ("Ginger") Harris (Nav), "Buck" Buckingham (MU/AG), Selwyn Gartland (B/A, F/AG), David "Jock" Shaw (Pilot)
Charles Bruce (F/Eng), Alf LLanwarne (Wireless Op), Eric Griffiths (R/AG)
Click image new08/01/2013
C- Flight No.1 Squadron, No. 1 ITW, May 1943, Babbacombe, nr. Torquay
Back row, 2nd on the left: Roy Harris
Photo courtesy of Paul Harris (son of Roy Harris)
Click image new05/02/2024: photo received from Mark Bradley (son of LAC V Bradley)
F/Lt Shaw with crew and ED905 "Press on Regardless"
Identification is difficult due to the blurred photo, but are clearly the members of the F/Lt Shaw crew:
Back, L-to-R: -, -, -, F/Lt DA Shaw (P)
Front seated, L-to-R: "Ginger" Harris (Nav), -, -

The aircraft appears to be sporting "invasion stripes" on the tail; so all dolled up for D-Day!
However in the ORB record neither ED905 nor F/Lt Shaw were flying on the eve of the D-Day landings (5/6 June 44).
Shaw's first flight (as 2nd pilot in another aircraft) appears to be 12 June 44. The Shaw crew's first flight in ED905 appears to be 22 June 44 (Pas de Calais).
So could it be that the invasion strips simply had not been painted out? Was the photo perhaps from around this date (22/06/44)?
Perhaps the photo was taken the same day as the first of the photo of the crew (above) given the appearance of another Lancaster in the background in both photos.

F/Lt D A Shaw DFC

"Jock" Shaw went on to complete 42 operations with 550 Squadron, rather more than the standard 30 operations for a first tour. After the standard 30 operations were completed most of his crew were dispersed to other bases, but he remained at 550 Sqdn, and proceeded to go on a number of other ops with a variety of different crews. This finally came to an end on the raid to Leuna Oil Plant, 14/15 Jan 1945, where the record notes: "The captain F/Lt "Jock" Shaw has at last been compelled to call it a day with a grand total of 42 operations. Higher authority this time refused his application to continue on Ops much to the disappointment of Jock."

The log books of P/O Walmsley have become available and these show P/O Walmsley flying on Operation "Dodge" 26-29 August 1945 with F/Lt D A "Jock" Shaw DFC as the pilot.

ED905 - "Press On Regardless" and the "Additional" Target

A story is re-counted in the book Wing Leader (by Allied fighter pilot "Johnnie" Johnson) on pages 247 and 248 where a Lancaster bomber, returning from a raid on Caen, attacks a German military column on two low passes, only a few feet from the ground, all guns blazing. The pilot was none other than 550 pilot "Jock" Shaw in ED905 - "Press on Regardless".

It appears that Shaw banned his crew from speaking of this additional "target" on return to North Killingholme and for many years afterwards. A "heavy" was not supposed to be going about imitating a fighter-bomber on operations!

Below is the full transcript from the book (re-produced by kind permission of Crecy Publications):

'Instead of turning to the north to set set course for England after dropping its load, one of the Lancasters came down in a fairly steep dive towards the strongly defended enemy-held territory south of the city. I watched this manoeuvre in some amazement as the Lancaster would soon find itself a solitary target for the German flak. Perhaps the aircraft had had its controls shot away or damaged and could only fly in this fashion. But wait, the bomber has now levelled out and is still flying due south only a few feet above the Caen-Falaise road. Amazed, I watch its antics. What the hell is the pilot up to? I soon discover the object of the low-level flight. This road, which is one of the enemy's main supply routes, is packed here and there with stationary tanks and vehicles. As it sweeps down the road, both front and rear turrets of the Lancaster are in action and the gunners are firing long bursts into the enemy vehicles. There is a considerable amount of light flak, but the pilot obviously scorns this small stuff, since he is accustomed to a nightly barrage of heavy flak over the industrial cities of Germany. For him this affair is a bit of a lark, and like a schoolboy away from the vigilance of his prefect, he is making the most of his freedom. Now the Lancaster carries out a slow wide turn to re-trace its flight northwards to Caen. Majestically, it ploughs along over the straight road with rear and front guns blazing away. Enemy drivers and crews abandon their vehicles as the Lancaster pounds along and dive for cover of the hedgerows. But what is this? Another Lancaster has appeared on the scene and is carrying out similar tactics. The first Lancaster is flying north. The second is streaming south. Both are over the centre of the highway and both avoid each other with a careful little swerve. Speechless, I watch the role of fighter-bomber being carried out, and most effectively, by the four-engined heavies. But now it is all over. The original glamour boy has climbed away to the north for his homeward journey and the second is pulling up from his straffing run. I fly alongside the Lancaster as it settles down for the flight back to Lincolnshire and wave to the gay adventurers inside. We have seen two bomber missions this evening which will never be recorded in any official log! Long after the war I discovered that the pilot of the first bomber was a Scottish ex-bricklayer called 'Jock' Shaw. At the time of my story, he was the proud captain of his own Lancaster, and was to win the DFC and Bar. Later he served as my adjutant.
Two days after the bomber attack, Caen was in British hands ...'

In a separate communication Craig Menzies, a grandson of Sgt Bruce (F/Eng) noted:

The Lancaster was ED905 "Press on Regardless" of 550 Squadron, based in North Killingholme. They were all told to keep PDQ on the matter, for fear of Court Marshall and it was only in later years that my Grandad told us the story. He became a bit of a local hero (it was in the Hull press), but played it down - as he said, they were only boys and it was a bit of a lark!

A Long Hot Summer

The tale above is also noted in the publication (1 Group: Swift to Attack Patrick Otter, Pen & Sword, 2012) (Chpt 16, "A Long Hot Summer", pg. 203), as is the detail of Shaw's take off technique to maximise bomb load; to the extent that Shaw once flew all the way to target and back with his undercarriage down.

Recent Years

Click image 550 Sqdn Personnel, RAF Coningsby, 2007
Roy Harris (8th from left, under Q)
Click image Roy Harris (in recent years)
Photo courtesy of Paul Harris