M.275 * First Officer  John Charles Shirley 
flag england  b. 10 Oct 1907, Berkswell, Solihull  7 Jan 1941 to 7 Aug 1943 




Father: William James Shirley , mother Annie [Turrall], both d.  Jan 1945

 m. 1935 Joan Mary [Penrice], one son Ivor Roderick b. 1943 d. 1987

prev. Motor Engineer

Address in 1930: Shirley's Garage, Meriden, nr Coventry

RAeC Certificate 9556 (Midland Aero Club, 22 Sep 1930, photo missing)

Address in 1943: 500 Stratford Rd, Birmingham 11

 Postings: 6FPP, 7FPP

5 accidents:

- 5 Sep 1942, he allowed the tail of his Proctor DX241 to rise too high during take-off, and the propeller 'pecked the ground'

- 15 Sep 1942, poor landing in Spitfire Vb ER139, followed by over-zealous use of the brakes resulted in the aircraft tipping onto its nose

- 19 Mar 1943, forced landing flying Oxford HN117, after he struck balloon cables (which he should have known about)

- 16-May-43, forced landing in Argus HM179 after the engine cowling came loose and damaged the propeller

d. 7 Aug 1943 in Wildcat IV [Martlet] FN249 which crashed at Pitbauchlie, Dunfermline.

 Buried Meriden (St Lawrence) Churchyard, Row 9 Grave 320


Coventry Standard,  14 Aug 1943:


The funeral took place on Thursday of First Officer John Charles Shirley, Air Transport Auxiliary Service. He was 35 years of ape, and was the second son of Mr. VV. J. Shirley of Shirley's Garage, Meriden. He was educated at Meriden C.E. School, and on leaving he helped his father and brother in the garage business.

He was a member of the choir at Meriden Church and of the Bible Class held by Mrs. Rankes at Meriden Hall. He was confirmed at Berkswell Church.

He continued to assist his father and brothers in the firm of W. J. Shirley and Sons until his marriage in 1933 to Joan Mary, second daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. Penrice, of The School House, Meriden (Mr. Penrice at that time was headmaster at Meriden School).  He then went into business on his own account in Birmingham, first with a book shop and then with a greengrocery business at Stratford Road, Sparkhill.

He was always keen on flying, and five years before the outbreak of the war [sic] he obtained his Pilot’s "A" licence. He joined the Civil Air Guard before the outbreak of war, and when this body was disbanded on the commencement of hostilities he volunteered for the Roval Air Force, but was not accepted. 

Nineteen months ago he volunteered as a Ferry Pilot for the Air Transport Auxiliary Service, and was accepted. During the time with this service he had two forced landings without mishap, and on another occasion his plane hit and snapped the cable of a balloon screened by cloud over a town in the north-east of Scotland.

He leaves a widow and one child, a boy not yet a month old. He died on his wife's thirtieth birthday, and had only seen his baby for two days."

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