Pilot Officer William Shillinglaw RAAF & Crew

Twenty four year old William Golder Shillinglaw RAAF and crew  joined the squadron via No.1657 Con Unit RAF Stradishall February 11th 1943. Prior to that that they had learnt their trade at No.11 Operational Training Unit, RAF Westcott, Buckinghamshire.

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W Shillinglaw

The crew carried out their first operation on April 8th 1943, a mine laying sortie in Short Stirling BF446 HA-H. There followed two operations in quick succession, Frankfurt and Duisburg. On return from the Duisburg raid they were attacked and damaged by a JU88 while on route home. The rear gunner Sergeant J Pierce was badly injured in both legs, he was replaced by Sergeant Edgar Hart.

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Air 50 Combat Report for the April 26th night-fighter encounter

During May three raids were flown, Dortmund on the 4th , Duisburg on the 12th and finally  Bochum on the 13th. This operation was unsuccessful due to the starboard inner engine overheating. In June two raids were successfully flown, Dussledorf on the 11th and Le Creusot on the 19th.

On the fateful operation of June 22nd the crew departed RAF Downham Market at 00:15hrs, the crew flying for the first time BK712 HA-D, joining the crew for operational experience was Flying Officer Arne Rhoar Helvard a 28-year-old from Denmark. The crews wireless operator was Flight Sergeant Douglas Ashby-Peckham RNZAF. Douglas had started his career at Levin in October 1940.  In December 1941 he joined No.287 Squadron based at RAF Croydon. The squadron was involved in anti aircraft co-operation flights.  From May 1942 the squadron was involved in defensive patrols at night, Douglas flew in the Defiant single seat fighter. In November 1942 at his own be crest he was posted to No.11 Operational Training Unit, RAF Westcott for crewing up. On the crews last operation they were intercepted and attacked by Lt Heinz Wolfgang Schnaufer, it is believed the crew were slightly off course when attacked. At approximately 01.33hrs the Stirling crashed near Aarschot, Belgium, sadly there were no survivors. The memorial was erected in June 1993 in honour of the young crew.

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The monument is situated in de Wijtestraat, in the front garden of the family Vandenbosch. This family gave their permission to put the memory stone in their garden. The Vandenbosch family take care of this monument.

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