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laughton

Beaurevoir British Cemetery: Case #1 - UB Aviator (2 Lt. T. G. Shaw?)

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laughton

This is a case file from the main cemetery topic here:

 

https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/267166-beaurevoir-british-cemetery/

 

I noticed him while checking on the 6th Dragoons man at the top of the COG-BR and had to take a look. Looks like it might be the aviator lost on the 17th, as the next were not until the 21st (CWGC Link) 15th to 22nd March 1918,

 

 

Trevor's most magnificent book tells us on page 149 that 2nd Lt. Thomas Gordon Shaw in B6843 SPAD VII of 23 Squadron was in that exact area and was reported to have been shot down in flames and crashing northwest of Bellicourt 62b.A.20 (.b.6.7.6 - one too many numbers?). The German cemetery extension is to the northeast but we don't know from where they retrieved the remains.

 

Trevor @fetubi may have some other ideas. This struck me as the most obvious, close to the area and buried a few days later. We will see!

 

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Edited by laughton
Trevor corrected plane number B6843 - thx!

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fetubi

I'm on the case today Richard.  Cheers.

 

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fetubi

A couple of early thoughts: First: the CWGC have his Squadron wrong on their Notes associated with the Arras Memorial.  As you say, he was lost in a SPAD flying for 23 Squadron, not 94 Squadron.  94 Squadron did not arrive on the Western Front until the first day of November 1918.  My notes show, by memory, over 30 airmen at Arras noted with the wrong Squadron, unfortunately.  Next, I had revised and hopefully sorted that location where he was seen to go down, and I would now give it as Sh.62b A.20.b. - just west of Bony. 

Cheers, T

 

Edited by fetubi

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fetubi

These are my thoughts.  I had saved these two Forms relating to The Unknown 2Lt aviator from a hunt back in late 2016, but hadn’t come to any conclusions. 

I feel the date of  20 March 1918 is key to a successful finding, if one is to be made.  In my book TSTBII there are four airmen with no known graves that actually mention Beaurevoir itself, but three of these are in the terrible fighting of 3-4 October 1918, and the 4th is an 11 Sqn Sgt pilot from November 1917.  Only one of these four is a 2Lt – one of two 80 Sqn pilots lost on 4 October 1918.  With that date of back in March 1918 I feel we can discount all of these four.

By the way, 2Lt Shaw’s SPAD serial is B6843.  And having looked again at the Casualty Report, the location where he was seen to go down smoking, and crash in flames was Sh.62b A.20.b.

Looking at NKG Airmen known to have been operating in this part of the front in that previous week – looking at the slightly wider context also – you have

1. 73 Sqn Camel pilot 2Lt JNL Millett shot down in flames and lost on 13 March 1918 south-east of Cambrai – seems unlikely.

2. You have 2Lt Shaw lost on the 17th, seen crash and his aircraft burn, at that Map Ref, 2 miles north-west of Bellicourt.  This location is about 4 miles west of Beaurevoir.  Yes, it is close.  My single hesitation is that it was seen burning, and there is no mention of this in the exhumation.  And yet this could be convincingly explained by him having been thrown out on impact.  The wording of this burning on the Cas Rep seems to imply it only began burning after crashing.  And he did have that facial injury to his jaw - the sort of thing that might have happened if and when thrown out.

3. The same day, the 17th, you have Capt StCC Tayler lost in combat in his 80 Squadron Camel, last seen diving on enemy machines “south of Cambrai”.  It will not be him.

4. Then on the 18th you have the 11 Squadron crew of Canadian Capt AP Maclean and Lt FH Cantlon shot down and lost between Fresnoy-Le-Grand and Bohain.  A few miles east of Beaurevoir, and neither man a 2Lt. 

Hopefully, all the others will be found one day, but it does look like that Unknown Airman you’ve found Richard may well be 2Lt Thomas Gordon Shaw.  Well done my friend.

Trevor

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laughton

For the record, 2nd Lt. Shaw's GRRF and HD-SCHD noting that he has yet to be named are inserted in this post. You always need to check, as they don't make the correction on the COG-BR all the time.

 

One must also ask why there is no notation by the CWGC that there are no missing airmen for 20 March 1918? There were three (3) Second Lieutenants that died that day but all were located in the UK (CWGC Link). The only two lost that day and buried in France were mechanics (CWGC Link).

 

As a final check, there were 28 men who had an association with the Royal Flying Corps as a "Secondary Regiment" (CWGC Link). Of those 5 men died in March 1918, only one of which was an Officer (CWGC Link). Sub-Lieutenant William Laurence Pattison was killed on 17 March 1918, the same day as "reported" for 2nd Lieutenant Shaw, however he has a known burial location (CWGC Link). His record notes: No. 5 Sqdn. Royal Naval Air Service attd. 22 Wing Royal Flying Corps.

 

Trevor has noted his concern in the post above relating to the casualty report:

Quote

My single hesitation is that it was seen burning, and there is no mention of this in the exhumation.  And yet this could be convincingly explained by him having been thrown out on impact.  The wording of this burning on the Cas Rep seems to imply it only began burning after crashing.  And he did have that facial injury to his jaw - the sort of thing that might have happened if and when thrown out.

 

His date of death was not known exactly, as it is stated death occurred on or since 17 March 1918. There are no additional details in his Officer's Service Record AIR 76/458/28.

 

I do not know the location (source) of the CASUALTY REPORT that Trevor has referenced.

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laughton

I took a long shot at looking at the ICRC records for some of the other KNOWN men on the COG-BR with the AVIATOR (Shaw?). I thought there might be a chance that a search would reveal a list of all the graves in the Beaurevoir Communal Cemetery German Extension.

 

That "hunt" has been moved to a separate topic, as it has become quite detailed. If it leads to any additional information on the UNKNOWN AVIATOR I will post that information back here on this topic.

 

Go here: 

 

https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/267438-beaurevoir-british-cemetery-case-2-cracking-the-icrg-grave-records-gb-list/

 

 

Edited by laughton
Split the topic as detailed above.

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