John Thornhill "Johnny" Shaw


Order of Leopold w/ Palme
Croix De Guerre w/ Palme

Born 23 April 1916 in Worksop, Nottinghamshire
Attended Nailsworh College, Adelaide
1939 March: Joined RAF Volunteer Reserve.
1939 18th May: Enlisted as Sergeant Pilot 748190
1939 Mobilized.
1940 June to October 1941: served with No: 3 Fighter Squadron [1 tour of day operations].
1941 7th October: Emergency commission as a Pilot Officer in the General Duties Branch of the RAFVR.
1941 21st October: Commissioned.
1941 22 October: Formed Manston single engined Night Intruder Squadron and served as CO until May 1942.
1941 27th December: Acting Flight Lieutenant.
1942 27th March: Flying Officer and awarded the DFC.
1942 May: Posted to HQ, Fighter Command, Tactics Branch.
1942 21st July: Acting Squadron Leader.
1942 August: Assumed command of 32 Squadron, taking them to the Middle East, the Western Desert & North Africa [1 tour of day operations].
John Shaw
1942 21st October: Flight Lieutenant.
1943 May: Sent on rest.
1943 June: Resumed command of No: 32 Fighter Squadron. Served North Africa and Sicily. 1 short tour of day operations.
1943 20th August: Awarded the Distinguished Service Order.
1943 October. Posted back to the UK. Chief Flying instructor, 61, Operational Training Unit until February 1944.
1944 February: Attended Command and General Staff College, USA. Graduated Grade 'A'.
1944 May: Assumed command of 122 Squadron, Long Range Mustangs; posted home July. 1 tour of day operations.
1944 8th August: Posted to 57, Operational Training Unit to fill Officer Commanding Training Wing vacancy. Spitfires.
1945 8th February: Posted to 55 OTU to fill Officer Commanding Training Wing vacancy. Aston Down. Typhoons.
1945 9th February: Acting Wing Commander.
1945 April: Course of Close Army Support.
1945 June: Commander's Course, Cranwell.
1945 July: Officer Commanding No: 6 Air Crew Holding Unit at Kirton Lindsey.
1945 1st September: Permanent Commission as a Squadron Leader in the General Duties Branch of the RAF #108962.
1945 September: Wing Commander Flying (Sector) Blakelaw.
1945 1st October: Senior Officers Radar Course.
1946: Awarded the Air Efficiency award..
1939-1945: Reportedly shot down 6.33 enemy aircraft during World War Two.
Flying time 3,115 total hours.
Operation hours Day 717 - Night 220.
Residence 1946: RAF Horaham, St Faith's, Norwich, Norfolk.
Occupation: Squadron Leader
Residence 1947: 9, Officers Quarters, RAF, Linton on Ouse, Yorkshire.
Occupation: Squadron Leader.
1947 27th June: Awarded the Order of Leopold with Palme and Croix De Guerre 1940 with Palme (Chevalier). Conferred by His Highness Prince Regent of Belgium.
Residence 1950: Cleveland Lodge, Thornaby Road, Thornaby-on-Tees, Durham.
Occupation: Squadron Leader
1952 1st July: Wing Commander.
1954 1st January: Awarded the Air Force Cross.
1959 1st January: Group Captain.
1966 23rd April: Placed on the retired list.
Residence (in 1976 at the time of his death): 4a, Lawfords Hill Close, Worplesdon, Surrey.
Occupation: Group Captain Royal Air Force (Retired)/Training Manager H.C.I.T.B.


Distinguished Flying Cross

Acting F/L John Thornhill SHAW (108962), RAFVR, No. 3 Squadron

London Gazette, 24 March 1942 - This officer has been engaged on operational flying since November 1940. He has taken part in operations against enemy aircraft by night, in numerous daylight sorties over enemy occupied territory and in many attacks on shipping. Flight Lieutenant Shaw has led his detachment with exceptional skill and keenness and he has destroyed at least 3 enemy aircraft.


Johnny Shaw with a Hurricane Johnny Shaw


Johnny Shaw with Hurricanes.
The one on the right, his personal mount showing eight kill markings.


Air Ministry, 20th August, 1943 - The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the following awards:

Distinguished Service Order

Acting Squadron Leader John Thornhill SHAW, D.F.C. (108962), Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, No. 32 Squadron. [No info given]


Victories Include :

24 Apr 1941
10/11 May 1941
7/8 July 1941
10 Aug 1941

8 Feb 1942
26/27 Mar 1942
11/12 Apr 1942
30/1 May 1942

15/16 Apr 1943
17/18 Apr 1943
1/4 Ju88
one He111
one Do17
one Me109

one Do17
one Do217
one u/i e/a
one Ju88

one Ju88
one Ju88
one Ju88


destroyed &

6.25 / 2 / 2

Score from Aces High [Shores & Williams]


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Thanks go out to

nephew Alan for the photos & infos !

On these pages I use Hugh Halliday's extensive research which includes info from numerous sources; newspaper articles via the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation (CMCC); the Google News Archives; the London Gazette Archives and other sources both published and private.

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