SECOND LIEUTENANT JOHN P. SHAW JR. was born in 1918. His father was a sergeant in the Haddon Heights NJ Police Department, and the family lived at 1937 Sycamore Street in Haddon Heights. John Shaw had attended Haddon Heights High School, and appears to have resided in Bergen County NJ, from where he enlisted in the Army in January of 1942. John Shaw spent some time in the cavalry at Fort Riley KS before qualifying for flight duty. He trained at Santa Ana CA, and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant on November 2, 1943 at Morley TX. In December of 1943 he was reported as being stationed at Mountain Home ID.
The 850th Bombardment Squadron (H) was activated October 11, 1943 at the Army Air Base, Mountain Home, Idaho. With it, were activated the Headquarters Detachment, 490 Bombardment Group (H), the 848th Bombardment Squadron (H), and the 849th Bombardment Squadron (H); and together with the parent 851st Bombardment Squadron (H)---formerly designated the Seventh Anti-Submarine Squadron---all became the subordinate units of the newly activated 490th Bombardment Group (H) at the Army Air Base, Mountain Home, Idaho. Second Lieutenant Shaw went overseas with this unit
In May of 1944 the 850th Bomber Squadron was re-assigned to the 801st Provisional Bomb Group (H). This unit was tasked with supporting OSS operations in occupied Europe.
The 801st Bomb Group appears to have been subsequently merged into the 492nd Bomb Group. Nicknamed the Carpetbaggers, this unit for the most part did not fly traditional bombing missions, instead this unit served as the first Special Operations group of the United States Army Air Force. At the peak of operations, in July of 1944, this group of approximately 3000 personnel, operating out of Station 179, Harrington, in the UK, with a small detachment at Leuchars, Scotland cooperated to fly "Spies and Supplies" into Western Europe on an almost nightly basis, bad weather excepted. Millions of propaganda leaflets, thousands of guns, tons of supplies of all kinds, and hundreds of individual personnel, the specially trained "Jedburgh" teams, the larger O.S.S. "Operational Groups", were all flown into Occupied Europe by the flyers of the Group on forays unprotected by fighters or any other air cover in specially prepared B-24 bombers. Additionally, a small number of C-47 flights were flown which took in supplies and brought out agents and evaders from Allied forces.
John P. Shaw was killed when his plane went down after colliding with an RAF plane in a drop zone over Europe on July 18, 1944. He was 26 years old, and was survived by his parents.
COURIER-POST CAMDEN SATURDAY MARCH 3, 1945
MEDAL AWARDED TO MISSING FLIER
An Air Medal was awarded posthumously to 2nd Lieutenant John P. Shaw Jr, son of Mr. and Mrs. John P. Shaw, of 1937 Sycamore Street, Haddon Heights
Operating a bomber B-24, over France, Lieutenant Shaw has been missing since last July.
The medal, presented to his mother, Mrs. Mary E. Shaw, was sent from New Castle Army base, at Wilmington DE, by direction of President Roosevelt, for meritorious achievements in accomplishing with distinction numerous aerial operational missions over enemy occupied Europe.
"The courage" the letter adds, "coolness and skill displayed by this officer in the face of determined opposition, materially aided in the successful completion of these missions."
"His actions reflect general credit upon himself and the armed forces of the United States."
850th Bomb Squadron, 801st Bomb Group,
Night of 18 /19 July 1944
Monuments (2) at: Marigny-l'Eglise & Mazagnien (Nievre), France
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