Who Remembers?

While searching for people who might be related somehow to Pilot Officer Joseph Simpson Shaw, I found this Website.

This is a case similar to what happened to Pilot Officer Shaw, but with another OTU…


It is about this air gunner.


The whole Websiste is quite impressive.

Overwhelming might be more appropriate

Which brings me to this point.

Who remembers?

This blogger who remembers her father a Hurricane pilot with 127 Squadron and then a Typhoon pilot, a rare breed to survive the war…

This blogger who remembers his father with 75 (NZ) Squadron part of Bomber Command…

This blogger’s father who was a Pacific paratrooper

This blogger who remembers her father who became a prisoner of war…

Also Robert Dixon whose Website is hard a little to navigate but merits to be visited.

This part of the site sets out to cover an area of the Battle of Britain that is not so well known: the attack on the North East of England, August 15, 1940. To access an account of this engagement press the ‘Next’ button below.

By pressing the Next button you will have access to his text about Northern Flank…





The words sound loud and clear over the radio: ‘OK chaps, help yourselves there’s no fighter escort.’ This was the raid on the North East of England during the Battle of Britain: Hollywood version, courtesy of the 1969 film ‘Battle Of Britain’. This was the only film that took the Battle of Britain as its subject matter. It was the film, that set out to show the ‘Battle’ as it really was, warts and all. Sadly, like all films, that set out to tell the true story, there were to be historical errors. The above ‘bloomer’ was to be one. However, for many this was the way it actually happened. It must have, they made a film about it. Had to be true then. Apart from the event happening the rest, where it concerns the north East, is artistic licence. Today many think this ‘faction’ is a true enactment. As recently as the year 2000 the updated version of the ‘bible’ on the Battle of Britain: ‘ The Battle Of Britain Then And Now’ states; ‘A major attack took place towards Newcastle with unescorted bombers’. So what really did happen on August 15, 1940? The operation was known as the ‘Northern Flank’. The day came to be remembered by the Germans as ‘Black Thursday.’

The Adler Angriff’, the attack of the Eagles, was to commence on August 12, 1940. What came to be passed down in history, as the Battle of Britain would be over in a week. Reichmarschall Goering had promised Hitler and the Luftwaffe this would be so. The plan was simple, defeat RAF Fighter Command in the air and on the ground. The prize: aerial supremacy. However, things were not to go so well as expected. Inclement weather postponed some of the operations. Of those raids that did go ahead, there were casualties. Many of the bombers had missed their targets, their bombs dropped mainly on open ground. The RAF did not come out of the conflict smelling of roses either. Enemy bombers had forced their way through the defences and pressed home attacks against some targets. Result? A draw, at best. With the weather not looking too good, Reichsmarschall Goering summoned his Commanders to Karinhall, his HQ near Berlin. There he would give them an ear bashing.

So who remembers?

People who believe we all have to remember the Fallen and those lucky enough to come back and leave descendants to write how history should be written in the first place.



Who Remembers Joseph Simpson Shaw? Redux

His old grammar school.

Boston Grammar School

Click here and here.

But is Joseph Simpson Shaw just a name on a list?

Most probably…

Maybe the Old Bostonian Association might be interested in paying homage to Joseph Simpson Shaw.

He was killed on 17th September 1942 on a raid over Essen and is buried in the Reichswald War Cemetery on the Belgian/German border. He was a Pilot Officer and was the pilot of a Wellington 1C with 15 OTU based at RAF Harwell, Oxfordshire and it is believe this was his first mission. 

Without all those former students who died in WII for their country, maybe the Old Bostonian Association might never have existed.

Just a thought…

Who Remembers Joseph Simpson Shaw?

His nephew Robert Harris whose father was Eugene Gagnon’s Navigator.

Joseph Simpson Shaw who joined the RAF with my father straight out of University.  He was killed on 17th September 1942 on a raid over Essen and is buried in the Reichswald War Cemetery on the Belgian/German border. He was a Pilot Officer and was the pilot of a Wellington 1C with 15 OTU based at RAF Harwell, Oxfordshire and I believe this was his first mission.  I remember being told that he trained in Canada.  His service number was 120603.

Searching for people who might be related somehow to Pilot Officer Joseph Simpson Shaw.

Information on the Internet about that Pilot Officer.

The mission he flew on…


16/17 September 1942


369 aircraft, including aircraft from the training groups. 39 aircraft

– 21 Wellingtons, 9 Lancasters, 5 Stirlings, 3 Halifaxes, 1 Whitley

– lost, 10.6 per cent of the force.

Although much of the bombing was scattered, this was probably the most successful attack on this difficult target. There were 33 large and 80 medium fires. 8 industrial and 6 transport premises were hit. The Krupps works were hit by 15 high-explosive bombs and by a crashing bomber loaded with incendiaries. There was much housing damage. In Essen and its immediate surroundings, 47 people were killed and 92 injured.

Many other towns were hit, in particular Bochum with 50 fires and 4 people dead, Wuppertal with 13 dead, Heme with a large fire in a lorry garage and Cochem, a small town on the Moselle 90 miles south of Essen, which received 1 bomb load destroying 4 houses and killing 15 people.

Similar case … from another OTU…


Excerpt from that link… 

16th September 1942 to Essen 12 aircraft with 1 missing and the Crew killed including Peter, his aircraft took off at 19.49 hrs with a very experienced crew of Instructors and was never heard from again.

Whether the aircraft was attacked by a German fighter or shot down by flak is not known but it is possible that it crashed due to technical failure ie the prop falling off which was a frequent event with Lichfield Wellingtons.

The irony of it all is that this was the last bombing raid carried out from Lichfield as the loss of Instructors could not be tolerated any longer, and it is most likely that Peter would have survived the War as an Instructor although there were those who went back to flying more Operations by choice due to boredom.

I remember being told that he trained in Canada…


Great post again…

Pacific Paratrooper

1 February 1942 is the earliest mention of a Kamikaze attack, but it was more likely an opportunist rather than a planned event. The USS Enterprise was damaged by the crashed plane. Admiral Takijiro Onishi did not create the Special Attacks Groups (Tokubetsu Kogeki Tai) until 19 October 1944, and gave them the title of Kamikaze after the ‘Divine Wind’ that scattered the Mongol invasion of Kublai Khan in 1274 and 1281.

These men volunteered mainly out of a sense of duty, generally university students, in their 20’s, being taught to “transcend life and death… which will enable you to concentrate your attention on eradicating the enemy with unwavering determination…” — an excerpt from the Kamikaze manual kept in their cockpit. Three times as many men volunteered as the number of planes available and experienced pilots were rejected. They would prepare for their fate by writing letters and poems to…

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Coastal Watchers

Another great post

Pacific Paratrooper

Coastal watchers, with their work in remote areas and behind enemy lines, tend to bridge the gap between an intelligence group and espionage. They were in the Pacific to watch for enemy activity and report back by radio. Most all of the men were Australian and part of the “Ferdinand” organization, which dated back to 1939. Those recruited had been planters, missionaries and colonial officials that were on outposts on such islands as New Guinea, the Solomons, and the Bismarks. These men often sent the Allied air forces at Guadalcanal several hours warning of an incoming raid, allowing the fighters ample time at Henderson Field to take off and gain altitude. An estimated 120 Allied airmen had been rescued by the coast watchers in the first year alone.

The commander of this unique group was Lt. Commander Eric Feldt, a graduate of Australia’s first class of naval cadets and a…

View original post 586 more words

Three Years

Three years of research on this pilot who lost in life in a plane crash October 21, 1947 in Windsor Mills. I was not even born when it happened.


Three years of research on Joseph Achilles Eugène Gagnon, a Mosquito pilot with RAF 23 Squadron. I am not even related to him.

A young French-Canadian, born May 28, 1921, a home town boy from Bromptonville who does not even have a street named to remembering him by…

A forgotten hero of Bromptonville, a town that does not exist anymore after its annexation with Sherbrooke.

Eugène Gagnon

23 Squadron, a RAF Squadron almost unknown stationed near the little village of Little Snoring in England also almost unknown. A squadron little known before I started writing a blog about it especially dedicated to it in 2010 to reach out for descendants of these airmen, pilots and navigators.

23 Squadron protected Bomber Command bombers flying over Germany like Halifaxes of 425 Alouette Squadron. 

Boulanger G Halifax 01

Thirty-three missions, most of them at night, flying at 600 km an hour at an altitude of 200 to 300 meters.

People should remember… 

Never injured, but death was always present.

DFC mission crash landing 27 March 1945

Keeping Me-262 away from Berlin…


Flying on the last operation of Bomber Command in WWII…

Last Operation of Bomber Command 2 May 1945

At last… VE-Day!

The Mosquito was not that easy to fly especially on take-off and landing. 

A crew: one pilot and his navigator. A navigator who I only had a name: R.C. Harris in 2010, and I was not even sure.

Eugene Gagnon 1945

A research that is now bearing fruits because I have found the son of the navigator who is now scanning his father’s precious logbook..

Flight Officer R. Harris

All this to pay homage to his father who died in 1967.

Eugène must have been happy to see him after 22 years… The last time they saw each other was when this picture was taken in July 1945.

Eugene Gagnon 1945

People should remember these airmen decorated with the DFC.


Eugene Gagnon’s Navigator

New pictures from the past…

RAF 23 Squadron

Just in from England…

Dad and Eugene

R.C. Harris and unknown pilot

Robert Harris owes so much to Eugene Gagnon, and Eugene Gagnon owed so much to Richard Harris his navigator. They flew all their 33 missions together. They could not have survived without each other.

They were a team!

If both survived the war it’s because they had utmost trust in each other. Richard Harris is on the left, but the airman on the left is not Eugene Gagnon.

Dad and Eugene

I would know because I have many pictures of Eugene.

R.C. called him Gene seen here on a caricature made by Pat Rooney.

caricature d'Eugène Gagnon


Dad and Eugene

These two airmen I believe were not with 23 Squadron when that picture was taken. I will find out someday because Robert will scan some logbook pages.

I just can’t wait. I just love looking at logbooks.

Wish I had Eugene’s logbook.

While we are waiting for more from…

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