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The Airmen's Stories - P.O. (FAA) F J Shaw


Frederick James Shaw was born on 18th January 1915 in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire. He married Iris Gwendoline Hearn in Plymouth in April 1937.

His early service is currently undocumented but by early July 1940 he was serving with 804 Squadron at Hatston, flying Sea Gladiators on dockyard defence.

On 11th January 1941 a Fulmar, piloted by Shaw, was catapulted from HMS Pegasus to chase a FW200 Condor which was attacking a ship five miles away. The ship had been hit and the Condor was making for cloud cover by the time the Fulmar arrived at the scene. An unsuccessful pursuit showed the Fulmar to be too slow for the job. This action took place 250 miles off the Irish coast and Shaw was able to land safely at Aldergrove.

Shaw was launched in a Fulmar from HMS Springbank on 10th June to chase a Condor 250 miles out in the Atlantic. He fired at the aircraft from long range but the Condor escaped. Shaw again managed to reach Aldergrove but only just, with five gallons of petrol left.

Shaw's third launch, again from the Springbank, came on 25th September 1941, one day out from Gibraltar on the way home. Again the Condor was lost. Shaw returned safely to Gibraltar but the Springbank was torpedoed by a U-boat. She floated for more than eighteen hours and was finally sunk by one of the escort.

Shaw was killed aged 28 on 2nd August 1942.

HMS Illustrious was in the Indian Ocean operating against the Vichy French in Madagascar. Shaw, based aboard with 881 Squadron, crashed in his Martlet on approaching the carrier to land.

His body was not recovered and he is remembered on the Fleet Air Arm Memorial at Lee-on-Solent.









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