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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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105 Squadron Crest
21/22.03.1941 No. 105 Squadron Blenheim IV T1892 GB-Q P/O. Shirlaw

Operation: Lorient, France

Date: 21/22nd March 1941 (Friday/Saturday)

Unit: No. 105 Squadron

Type: Blenheim IV

Serial: T1892

Code: GB-Q

Base: RAF Swanton Morley, Norfolk

Location: Nr. Cofton Hackett, Worcestershire

Pilot: P/O. Ian Murray Shirlaw 81054 RAFVR Age 25. Killed

Obs: P/O. Cyril Peter Dugdale 84034 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: F/O. John Olaf Mair 78277 RAFVR Age 33. Killed


Taking off at 20:34 hrs from RAF Swanton Morley in Norfolk to bomb the U-Boat base at Lorient. 66 aircraft taking part in the operation which, due to poor visibility caused poor bombing results.

On return, suffering it has been thought by battle image the aircraft collided with a barrage balloon near Cofton Hall, one of several protecting the Austin Longbridge plant.

The pilot managed to control the aircraft and crash landed the Blenheim but sadly hit banks by the river Arrow killing all the crew.

After the war the family of P/O. Shirlaw erected gates at the Kinver Cemetery in memory of their son who shared a joint grave with P/O. Dugdale. F/O. Mair was cremated at the Woking Crematorium.

Burial details:

P/O. Ian Murray Shirlaw. Kinver Churchyard Ext. (St. Peter). Row 3. Joint grave 11. Son of Alan and Eva Margaret Shirlaw, of West Hagley, Worcestershire, England.

Obs: P/O. Cyril Peter Dugdale. Kinver Churchyard Ext. (St. Peter). Row 3. Joint grave 11. Son of Lt.-Col. Walter Geoffrey Dugdale, M.C., and Rosamond Shirley Dugdale, of Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England.

W/Op/Air/Gnr: F/O. John Olaf Mair. Woking Crematorium (St. John’s). Panel 3. Of Woking, Surrey, England. Next of kin details not currently available, are you able to assist?

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Halfpenny for Woking panel photo, Peter Polker for crew photos and details - April 2017. Other sources indicated below.

KTY - 14.04.2017

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Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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