1536239 LAC SHAW FR

Frank enlisted in the Royal Air Force on 11 July 1941 four months short of his 20th birthday. In 'civvy street' he had been a capstan operator. He completed his initial recruit training (square bashing) at Blackpool where he was accommodated in one of the many holiday guest houses. Memories of Blackpool Training

Recruit Training
This photograph believed to be taken during recruit training, probably outside the guest houses they were billeted in. Frank is on the right of the Flight Sergeant, who is wearing a webbing belt.

With Mum at Blackpool
With Mum at Blackpool

RAF Cosford

On 3 October 1941 Frank was posted to No 2 School of Technical Training, RAF Cosford near Wolverhampton. Here he trained as a Flight Mechanic/Engines and was then posted to his first operational unit, RAF Wellesbourne Mountford, near Stratford on Avon.

Winnie and Frank wedding
Frank married Winnie on 14 February 1942
at St Johns Church, Sparkhill, Birmingham

RAF Wellesbourne Mountford

The records show that Frank was posted to 22 Operational Training Unit (OTU) on 25 March 1942 still an Aircraftman. RAF Wellesbourne Mountford was the base for 22 Operational Training Unit which was formed in April 1941, at it's height in 1944 it operated 88 Wellington twin engined bombers. Although it was a training unit instructors and trainees flew operational missions in the thousand bomber raids. Frank would have been employed on aircraft servicing. On 1 August 1943 he was promoted to Leading Aircraftman (LAC). After what must have been a very busy 2 ½ years Frank was posted to No 2 PDC (Personnel Dispatch Centre?) on 20 September 1944 to begin his journey to Aden.

Group in front of Wellington
Frank is in the centre of the back row of this picture possibly taken at Wellesbourne Mountford. It is probably an aircraft servicing crew. 'Chiefy' (Flight Sergeant in charge) is seated centre front.

Egypt The records and this photograph from his personal collection show that Frank spent some time in Egypt en route to Aden.

RAF KHORMAKSAR, ADEN

Frank disembarked at Aden on 21 December 1944 and was employed at 171 Maintenance Unit, RAF Khormaksar. We do not know what his duties were but this series of photographs show that he and his buddies did get some time for relaxation. They are all annotated on the reverse in his own hand writing. All are 'Good Friday 1945' which was 30 March, I was born 8 days earlier on the 22nd.

Conquest Bay "Conquest or Shark Bay"

One-man dinghy "Overcrowded one-man dinghy"

Miserable "I wasn't really that miserable. I was supposed
to be making a funny face at the photographer"

Chota Steamer"Wogs net fishing with 'Chota Steamer'"

Crabs "There are millions of shells stuck to the rocks and crabs were running round our feet"

More Photographs from Aden 1945

Aden 1945  Reverse
Photograph and reverse

Aden Group

"Reg Kirkman, Bert Hewson, Paddy Gray
George Crocker, Alec Siveyer, Adan.

(Adan could be the billet bearer, I had one in Singapore, we each paid him a small amount every week to do our laundry, clean our shoes, keep the billet clean, etc.)

Crater

"Native street in Crater, Aden 1945"

Queen of Shebas Tanks

"The Queen of Sheba's Tanks
Built approx 2,000 years ago for catching rainwater
and act as reservoirs"

In November 1945 Frank was granted 28 days compassionate leave in UK because his father was seriously ill. He did not return to Aden. By now the war was over anyway. Whilst on leave he was posted to 51 Maintenance Unit , RAF Lichfield where he stayed until his release. During this period Frank spent some time in the RAF Hospital Cosford.

RAF Hospital Cosford

He was released to the reserve on 14 November 1946, A few days after his 25th birthday.

Back in 'Civvy Street'

Frank and Frank

Frank with son Frank
Butlins Holiday Camp circa 1948

1536239 LAC Shaw FR was discharged from class 'G' reserve in 1959, 6 years after his death
(Details taken from RAF Form 543A obtained from RAF Personnel Management Centre)

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