William Maurice Shaw (Maurie) enlisted in the RAAF 1939 as he always wanted to fly. His passion for aviation lead him to fly de Havilland Mosquito’s during the war and it all started when his older sister Joyce paid for a joy flight for him is the 1930’s. Once he became a flying Officer he was then appointed as a flying instructor. He instructed up until 1944 when he went onto operations and was trained on twin engine aircraft.
Maurie first flew Avro Ansons and DAP Beauforts before moving onto DAP Beaufighters. He was then posted to de Havilland Mosquito’s and joined No 1 Squadron in 1945 and went with the Squadron when it was sent up into the South Pacific islands. The first Mosquito Maurie flew with 1 Sqn was HNA A52-510. The pilot of another Mosquito, A-NA A52-500 had engine trouble and it was due to go on a mission so he took Maurie’s Mosquito, A52-510. On that mission HNA A52-510 was lost to enemy action with both crew killed in action.
Maurie, as a result of this tragic crash took over A52-500 as “his” aircraft coded A-NA. Several days later Maurie was flying A52-500 and it was involved in a crash on takeoff. On the run down the runway he hit a pot hole with port wheel swinging the aircraft left, causing the undercarriage to collapse and skidding to a stop off to the left and shutting the airstrip. Maurie said he sat there swearing, turning off switches as his navigator went out the top, then coming back to get Maurie. Neither of them was injured. The investigation found the loss of the aircraft was due to pilot error. A-NA A52-500 was written off and converted to components.
As a result, Maurie was given a new de Havilland Mosquito, A-NA A52-528. This was the Mosquito he adorned with art work on the pilots access door, “The Geelong Flyer” named after the train from Geelong to Melbourne, as Maurie was from Geelong, Victoria. Several times while flying A52-528 when returning to Australia in 1945 and again in 1946 servicemen would turn up to his Mosquito and ask him to take letters home.
Maurie flew on for the rest of the war. After the war he flew a mosquito to Japan escorting Mustangs. He spent more than six month in Japan, most of the time in Hiroshima. After leaving the RAAF, Maurie went back to working in a bank, his prewar profession. In his spare time Maurie flew for many years, mainly in Mildura Victoria, with the Matthews Company engaged in many activities from air Agricultural to commercial runs.
The aircraft featured here are two of the Mosquitos flown By Maurie Shaw during his RAAF Service
Mosquito FB.VI A52-510 was a UK built aircraft and carried the RAF serial HR412 and wore a European two tone color scheme. Upon delivery to the RAAF the aircraft was recoded A52-510 03/12/44 and delivered to 2 AD. On 20/02/45 the aircraft was delivered to 1 Sqn Kingaroy Queensland. On 03/45 the aircraft was repainted overall silver. Coded H*NA the aircraft moved with RAAF 1 Sqn to Labuan and on 09/08/45 crashed in enemy territory.
Mosquito FB.VI A52-528 was a UK built aircraft and carried the RAF serial HR503 and wore a European two tone color scheme. Upon delivery to the RAAF the aircraft was recoded A52-528. On 15/02/45 the aircraft arrived at 2 AD and then on 04/07/45 the Mosquito arrived at 5 RSU where it was repainted overall silver. On 14/08/45 the aircraft arrived at 1 Sqn. Postwar on 22/10/45 the aircraft arrived again at 2 AD and was stored. On 29/10/46 the Mosquito was converted to components.
William Maurice Shaw’s passion for aviation resulted in him flying some of the iconic aircraft of World War 11.
© John Parker 2014
Some photo’s in this article are courtesy of Peter Hexeter & the Australian War Memorial.