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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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No 9 Squadron
27/28.03.1941 9 Squadron Wellington Ic R1335 Flt Lt. John T.L. Shore MC

Operation: Cologne (Köln), Germany

Date: 27th/28th March 1941 (Thursday/Friday)

Unit No: 9 Squadron

Type: Wellington Ic

Serial: R1335

Code: WS:K

Base: RAF Honington, Suffolk

Location: SSW of Heusden en Maas, Holland

Pilot: Flt Lt. John Talbot Lovell ‘Death’ Shore MC, 39177 RAF Age 24. PoW No. 528 * (1)

2nd Pilot: Plt Off. James Leslie Robert ‘Cookie’ Long MiD, 89375 RAFVR Age 29. PoW 552 * / Murdered (5)

Obs: Sgt. Herbert John ’Tommy’ Tomkins 755975 RAFVR Age 20. PoW No. 852 ** (2)

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Ronald David Bews 943610 RAFVR Age 25. PoW No. 536 ** (3)

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Norman David Richard ‘Griff’ Griffiths 755823 RAFVR Age? PoW No. 548 * (3)

Air Gnr (Rear): Sgt. Richard ‘Parky’ Parkin 940563 RAFVR Age? PoW No. 566 * (4)

* Stalag Luft 3, Sagan-Silesia, Germany, now Żagań in Poland. (Moved to Nuremberg-Langwasser, Bavaria).

** Stalag 357, Thorn (Toruń) in Poland. Moved in September 1944 to the loosely named Stalag 357 Fallingbostel, Lower Saxony, Germany. Officially the designation was Stalag 357 (Oerbke)


R1335 took off from RAF Honington at 19:45hrs on the 27th March 1941, on Flt Lt. Shore’s 10th operation, along with five other Wellingtons from the Sqn on a mission to bomb Cologne.

A signal "NAP" was received from this aircraft at 22:37 hrs. This was approximately at an hour over his “ETA” in the target area. Eleven minutes later at 22:48 hrs an “SOS” was received on the HULL frequency, followed by the operating signal "I am forced to land" and the letters "GN”.

Note: “NAP” is believed to be mean “No Aiming Point” and “GN” believed to mean “Good Night”.

R1335 was claimed by Oblt. Walter Fenske, his 8th Abschuss, from 3./NJG1 over Heusden, 1km West of Hertogenbosch at 23:50 hrs.

Oblt. Fenske was the Staffelkapitän of 3./NJG 1 until October 1941 when he became Staffelkapitän of 9./NJG 2 and then Staffelkapitän of 11./NJG 5. On the 26th March 1944 he was severely injured when his Ju88 crashed at Kropplingen and he died two days later. Hptm. Fenske was credited with 13 confirmed Abschüsse. (Luftwaffe ACES - Biographies and Victory Claims (Mathews and Foreman) - Volume 1).

The aircraft was also coned for 2½ mins by searchlight number 49 of 4./ and searchlight number 57 of 5./ II./Flakscheinw. Rgt 1 (Wellington caught 23:37 hrs) Also claimed by Flak of 1./Res. Flak Abt. 305. The flak claim was confirmed by OKL on the 7th October 1941. (Nachtjagd Combat Archive (1939 - 12 July 1941) The Early Years Part 1 - Theo Boiten).

Note: Other evidence indicates that the aircraft was homebound when the starboard engine stopped but started again but shortly thereafter this both engines stopped. It is believed that this was probable because of some confusion over the positioning of the fuel stop cocks.

The aircraft crashed near Oudheusden, SSW of Heusden en Maas, Holland.

Five of the crew had bailed out and landed safely but Flt Lt. Shore had injured his ankle. It was reported later to the Sqn that all the crew apart from Sgt. Tomkins (of whom no information was received) were PoWs in Germany and that they were uninjured.

The remains of the tailplane of Wellington R1335 under guard near Oudheusden (courtesy of Paul Pouwels

(1) The recollections in John’s own words, and transcribed by his son Ian Shore, of his Parachute landing to Amsterdam. This page details what happen when he knew that his beloved “Katie” wasn’t going to make it;

His own story of his escape and journey in a foreign country with no money or papers to meeting the family that kept his watch and returned it after the war to his arrival in Stockholm.

A journey of discovery by the sons of John Shore tells their story of retracing their father’s footsteps of his escape and visiting Stalag Luft 1. Their meeting with Helga Radau and seeing the memorial dedicated to the prisoners.

Ian Shore recalls his meeting with Bertram Arthur “Jimmy” James. The infamous escaper who recalled his time as a friend of “Death” Shore while they were prisoners of war in Stalag Luft 1. There coming together to dig a tunnel and his meeting with John after the war.

The last flight for Avro Lincoln RF511, John Talbot Lovell Shore MC, AFC, and his crew. With 1628 solo flying hours John Shore was a very experienced and much respected pilot. He was a test pilot who had made 330 impacts into barrage wires. The aircraft was on a night training exercise and due to extremely poor weather and visibility crashed into the side of a mountain in Wales.

John Shore’s Royal Air Force Career describes from his date of entry into the Service to his death in 1950. It also details some of his more unusual postings. His temporary loan to the Air Ministry Film Training Unit to his work in the Research Department.

(2) Sgt. Tomkins managed to evade capture first in Holland and then in Belgium. He was trying to make his way to Vichy in France but was captured on the 8th December 1941 in Nevers. Sgt. Tomkins was promoted to Warrant Officer (WO) whilst a PoW at Stalag 357 and then transferred to Stalag Luft 6.

(3) Sgt. Griffiths and Sgt Parkin were promoted to Warrant Officer (WO) whilst at Stalag Luft 3.

(4) Sgt. Bews was promoted to Warrant Officer (WO) whilst a PoW at Stalag 357 and transferred to Stalag Luft 6.

(5) Plt Off. Long earned his nickname of ‘Cookie’ from his uncontested skill at distilling moonshine liquor.

He was promoted to Fg Off. with effect the 23rd December 1941 and then to Flt Lt. with effect the 23rd December 1942. At Stalag Luft 3 he became one of the numerous code letter writers. (Ref 1. p 62)

On the night of the 24th-25th March 1944, 76 officers escaped from the north compound of Stalag Luft 3 which, at that time, held between 1000 and 1500 RAF PoWs. The escape was made by the means of a tunnel. At about 05:00 hrs on the 25th March the 77th PoW was spotted by guards as he emerged from the tunnel.

An overview of the German response to the escape and the subsequent British prosecution of those responsible for the murder of fifty of the escapees is summarised in the report entitled “The Fifty - The Great Escape”.

After he exited the tunnel he was one of a party of officers assembled by Flt Lt. Bethell who was the forty-sixth out of the tunnel. The party started walking west though the woods for about 2 km and then split up into smaller groups. Flt Lt. Long partnered with Flt Lt. Bethell and they continued to walk north for about 2 km and then hid in some woods until the evening of the the 25th March. They then continued north along the Frankfurt to Oder railway line for about 30 km arriving at Breslau at about 06:00 hrs on the 26th March.

Flt Lt. Richard Anthony Bethell 120413 RAFVR, PoW No. 858. Fg Off. Bethell was shot down by flak on a Rhubarb over Holland on the 27th December 1942 flying Mustang I AP212 from 268 Sqn.

The hid in a barn on the outskirts of Breslau until the evening and then made their way back to the railway marshalling yard with the intention of jumping onto a goods train but no slow trains passed through that evening. The decided to return to the barn at about 04:00 hrs on the 28th March.

Late the next morning they left the barn and walked around Breslau but their luck ran out and were arrested by members of the Volkssturm (Home Guard) at 14:00 hrs. They were taken to the civilian prison in Breslau and later that afternoon they were taken to the Kriminalpolizei (Criminal police) Headquarters in Sorau. From there they were taken to the civilian prison in Sagan, then on the evening of the 29th March they were taken to the civilian prison in Görlitz. On the 6th April Flt Lt. Bethell was returned to Stalag Luft 3 whilst Flt Lt. Long remained at Görlitz. (Ref 1. pp 195 - 196)

Flt Lt. Long was last seen alive on the 13th April 1944 at the civilian prison in Görlitz by Flt Lt. M.P. Ellis on the 13th April 1944 when he heard a lorry drive up and Flt Lt. Long being taken away. (Ref 1. pp 263 - 265).

Flt Lt. Max Pemberton Ellis 137306 RAFVR, PoW No. 1696 was an officer from the Balaria (Officer) compound at Stalag Luft 3. He was not part of the ‘Great Escape’ but coincidently escaped on the same day.

Fg Off. Ellis was from 7 Sqn Stirling I R9272, which was shot down on the 21st June 1943. He was one of two survivors from the crew, the other was Plt Off. James Hector Ross 137667, PoW No. 1704, Stalag Luft 3.

What is known from the trial transcript was that he was a lone officer who was killed by persons unknown some time on or about the 12th April 1944 and cremated in Breslau, and his urn returned to Stalag Luft 3. No one was formally charged with the actual murder of Flt Lt. Long.

Burial Details:

Memorial to “The Fifty” near to Żagań (Credit: CSvBibra - Own work, Public Domain)

Above: Grave marker for Flt Lt. Long (Courtesy of TWGPP)

Flt Lt. James Leslie Robert Long MiD. Poznan old Garrison Cemetery 8.D.3. Born on the 21st February 1915 in Christchurch, Taunton, Somerset. Son of Cecil Robert and Winifred May (née Coles) Long of Taunton, Somerset, England.

Flt Lt. Long was Mentioned in Despatches (MiD) recognizing his conspicuous bravery as a PoW because none of the other relevant decorations then available could be awarded posthumously. Promulgated in the London Gazette on the 1st January 1945.

Originally researched by Kate Tame, Aircrew Remembered and for all the relatives and friends of the crew. Special thanks to Sqn Ldr. 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 his 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.

Reviewed and updated by Ralph Snape and Traugott Vitz for Aircrew Remembered with additional thanks to Traugott for his work on the ‘VitzArchive’.

Thanks to ‘The War Graves Photographic Project for their great work.

Other sources listed below:


1. Stalag Luft III - An official history of the “Great Escape’ PoW Camp - Published by Frontline Books - ISBN: 978-1-47388-305-5.

RS & TV 31.10.2022 - Reviewed and updated

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