27/28.03.1941 No. 9 Squadron Wellington IC R1335 WS-K F/Lt. John Talbot Lovell Shore
Operation: Cologne, Germany
Date: 27/28th March 1941 (Thursday/Friday)
Unit: No. 9 Squadron
Type: Wellington IC
Base: RAF Honington, Suffolk
Location: Heusden, Holland
Pilot: F/Lt. John (Death) Talbot Lovell Shore 39177 RAF Age 24. PoW No. 528. Camp Stalag Luft I Barth. (1)
2nd Pilot: P/O. James (Cookie) Leslie Robert Long 89375 RAFVR Age 29. PoW No. 522. Camp Stalag Luft I Barth. Stalag Luft III Sagan (2)
Nav: Sgt. Herbert John (Tommy) Tomkins 755975 RAFVR Age ? PoW No. 852. Camps Stalag Luft I Barth. Stalag Luft IV Gross Tychow. Stalag Luft VI Heydekrug and Stalag 357 Fallingbostel (3)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. R. D. Bews 943610 RAFVR Age ? PoW No. 536. Camps Stalag Luft I Barth. Stalag Luft VI Heydekrug and Stalag 357 Fallingbostel
Air/Gnr: Sgt. N. D. R. (Griff) Griffiths 755823 RAFVR Age ? PoW No. 548. Camps Stalag Luft I Barth. Stalag Luft III Sagan. Stalag Luft VII Bankau
Air/Gnr: Sgt. R. (Parky) Parkins 940563 RAFVR Age ? PoW No. 566. Camps Stalag Luft I Barth. Stalag Luft III Sagan
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RAF Honington, Suffolk
REASON FOR LOSS:
Wellington R1335 took off at 19.45hrs for an operation on Cologne with five other aircraft from the squadron. Fl/Lt. Shore and crew failed to return. A signal from Wellington R1335 at 22.37hrs which was a hour over the aircrafts expected time of arrival at the target area. At 22.48hrs a "S.O.S" was received on the Hull frequency which was followed by the signal "I am forced to land" followed by the letters "G.N." (good night) The aircraft was on the homeward journey when the starboard engine stopped. It started again but shortly after this both engines stopped. The aircraft crashed near Oudheusden, SSW of Heusden en Maas, Holland. This was John T. L. Shore's 10th operational flight. Wellington R1335 was "claimed" to have been shot down by Obtt. Walter Fenske, III./NJGI, although other evidence indicates that the engines ran out of fuel because of confusion re the fuel stop cocks. Five of the crew had bailed out and landed safely, but John T. L. Shore had injured his ankle. It was reported later to the Squadron that all the crew apart from Sgt. Tomkins (of whom no information was received) are prisoners of war in Germany and they were uninjured
The remains of the tailplane of F/Lt. Shore's Wellington R1335 under guard near Oudheusden (courtesy of Paul Pouwels)
(1) F/Lt. John Talbot Lovell (Death) Shore was born on the 29th April 1917 in Croydon and educated at St. Lawrence College, Ramsgate. Granted a short service commission as Acting Pilot Officer with effect from 12th October 1936 and posted to No. 148 (Bomber) Squadron, Scampton 30th June 1937. John was confirmed as a Pilot Officer as of August 1937 and promoted to the rank of Flying Officer on the 17th February 1939. John was promoted to the rank of Flight Lieutenant on 3rd September 1940.
A written account by Fl/Lt. John Tallbot Lovell Shore was compiled from the original notes left by John Talbot Lovall Shore which describes the events after landing by parachute and his journey to Amsterdam. Transcribed by his son Ian D. L. Shore. F/Lt. John T. L. Shore's account of his escape from Stalag Luft 1 Barth on the 19th October 1941 and his description of the events after leaving Amsterdam. Transcribed by his son Ian D. L. Shore from records held by Mark L. Shore. John Shore and Bertram Arthur "Jimmy" James (Great Escaper) became friends when they met in Stalag Luft I Barth. Both had been serving with No. 9 Squadron before becoming POW's. Ian Shore recalls his meeting with Jimmy James at Headquarters Strike Command.
John T. L. "Death" Shore left and Bertram Arthur "Jimmy" James standing in front of the incinerator at Barth (courtesy of the Shore family) "Death" Shore front left (courtesy Daily Telegraph)
John Talbot Lovell Shore's medals. Left to right: Military Cross (MC). For exemplary gallantry during active operations against the enemy on land. Air Force Cross (AFC). For exemplary gallantry in the air on non active operations. 1939-1945 Star. Includes RAF air crew with 60 days service in an operational unit including at least one operational sortie. Aircrew Europe Star. For 60 additional days' service in an RAF Unit engaged in operational flying over Europe from bases in the UK with at least one operational sortie. Defence Medal 1939-1945. For non operational service for at least 1080 days. War Medal 1939-1945. For service for at least 28 days between 3rd September 1939 and 2nd September 1945
Awarded the MC (Military Cross) as per London Gazette 13th March 1942. The recommendation for his MC reads "Flight Lieutenant J. T. L. Shore (39177) No. 9 Squadron. This officer was returning from a bombing raid on Cologne on the night of 27th March 1941, his 10th war flight, when owing to engine trouble he was compelled land in enemy occupied territory. He was successful in enabling his entire crew to leave the aircraft before he himself abandoned it at 1500ft. He landed some 61/2 miles from Heusden en Mass in Holland. He later went to a farmhouse was taken by a local minister to a doctor and eventually to the police station where he was handed over to a German Air Force Officer. Afterwards he was taken to Amsterdam, Frankfurt-Am-Main for transit by bus to Dulag Luft and later to Stalag Luft, Barth. On the journey from Dalag Luft to Stalag Luft this Officer managed to jump out of a window of the train and ran to a wooded bank on one side of the railway, but unfortunately the guards heard him get out and he window as eventually caught and taken back to the train. While at Stalag Luft this Officer, in company with others, engaged himself in tunnelling operations with a view to escape the camp, and on the night 19th October 1941 when a British raid was in progress he crawled through the tunnel which was partly waterlogged and made good his escape from Germany. This Officer displayed great determination while a prisoner to get away. His preparations were well carried out, and he brought back to this country a considerable amount of valuable information. Throughout his experiences he showed the greatest skill and courage" Squadron Leader John Talbot Lovell Shore MC, AFC was killed while flying an Avro Lincoln on March 15th 1950
POW's divide up potato peelings at Stalag 357 Fallingbostel (courtesy of National Library of New Zealand) Below: Memorial to the 50 men murdered after the "Great Escape" from Stalag Luft III Sagan in 1944. James "Cookie" L.R. Long one of the recaptured prisoners murdered on the 13th April 1944. His name can be seen on the right hand panel (picture courtesy of Wikipedia)
P/O. James Leslie Robert "Cookie" Long. Poznam Old Garrison Cemetery, Poland. Grave 8. D. 6. Son of Cecil Robert and Winifred M. Long of Taunton, Somerset. (2) Born on the 21st February 1915. James was granted a short service commission on the 21 December 1940 as a Pilot Officer on probation and he was posted to No 9 Squadron on the 3rd March 1941 from No. 19 OTU (Operational Training Unit) James had only been with the Squadron for just over three weeks when the aircraft he was flying in crashed. Taken prisoner of war on the 28th March 1941 he spent the next three years as a POW. James was one of the POW's that were involved with the tunnels called "Tom, Dick and Harry" and was one of the 76 POW's that escaped on the night of 24th March 1944 from Stalag Luft III Sagan. James was recaptured near Sagan. Much has been written about "The Great Escape" Of the 76 that escaped 73 were recaptured within two weeks. On Hitler's orders 50 of the escapees were murdered. James Leslie Robert Long was murdered on the 13 April 1944 and his body was cremated at Bresau. James's remains are now interred in Poznam Old Garrison Cemetery. James Leslie Robert (Cookie) Long was promoted to Flight Lieutenant on the 23rd December 1942. The murders of the 50 Great Escapers is covered in the Vitz Archive
on this site: search for 'Great Escape'.
Special thanks to Squadron Leader J. T. L. Shore's sons Rex, Mark and Ian for their invaluable support and documents. Their extensive research, photographs and detailed account of their trip to Barth, the account of retracing their father's escape route and the information of their father's career before his capture in 1941, his personal report of his time as a POW, his escape and his career after his escape until his death on the 15th March 1950.
(3) Sgt. Herbert John (Tommy) Tomkins had managed to evade capture first of Holland and then in belgium. He was trying to make his way to Vichy, France but was captured on the 8th December in Nevers, France
Also read: Parachute landing to Amsterdam. Escape from Bath 1941. A Journey of discovery. Meeting Jimmy James, a friend of John Shore, after the war. The loss of Avro Lincoln RF511. John TL Shore MC AFC record of service with the RAF. Acknowledgement from Mark and Ian Shore
Researched by: Kate Tame Aircrew Remembered and for all the relatives and friends of the crew. With special thanks to Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Aircrew Remembered archives, UK National Archives WO/373/61, Air 27/126, Air 27/131, Air 40/1546, Wikimedia Commons, Imperial War Museum, Mary Smith and Barbara Freer, Jonathan F. Vance - A Gallant Company: The Men of the Great Escape, Gordon Thorburn - Bombers First and Last
For further detailed accounts we recommend the following publications: