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Can you help solve this WW2 mystery?

The wreckage of Flying Officer Skirrows aircraft.

The wreckage of Flying Officer Skirrows aircraft.

An author and historian is looking for information about a Morecambe man killed in World War Two.

Bomber Command author Chris Ward is hoping Guardian readers might be able to help with research being carried out by a German colleague.

His colleague has almost completed writing a book on the Allied airmen buried in the Den Burg Cemetery on the Dutch Frisian island of Texel.

There are around 100, and among them is Flying Officer Edward Watson Skirrow, who came from Morecambe and was killed in July 1943 while flying a Mustang with 4 Army Co-operation Squadron.

His name appears on the Morecambe war memorial with a date of November 1941, which is incorrect.

Chris hopes to be able to find a relative of this brave man, and believes some of the family may still live in the area.

His German friend has provided us with photos of his crash site, and of the German aircraft he shot down before he was fatally hit by flak from Texel.

In order to complete the story, he would love to have a photo of F/O Skirrow for the book, and as much personal information as possible.

It is thought that relatives are unaware of the details of his loss, and Chris is keen for people to remember this local hero.

Edward Watson Skirrow was the son of John William and Sarah Skirrow from Morecambe. He was one of four children, three boys and a girl.

At the time of his death he was serving with No 4 Army Co-operation Squadron.

The following information comes from translations by Chris of various reports concerning the loss of F/O Skirrow:

1. F/O Skirrow’s aircraft crashed onto the beach at De Hors on Texel between paals 8 and 9. (A paal is a marker post set at 250 metre intervals on Dutch beaches)

2. F/O Skirrow took off from Bottisham at 19.45 British time, bound for a shipping sweep (roving patrol to attack enemy vessels) to Den Helder and the island of Texel. In the company of another Mustang he attacked the flying boat base at De Mok, and shot up a Dornier 24 rescue float plane at anchor, causing it to burst into flames. His Mustang was then hit by flak and crashed at 20.55 as described above.

3. On the evening of July 8 1943, two fighter aircraft raced over De Mok at around 20.00 hours.

They shot a three-engined flying boat into flames. Heavy defensive fire from the ground set one of the aircraft on fire, and it fell like a stone in the direction of paal 8.

4. Skirrow was shot down by anti-aircraft fire, and came down in flames at paal 8. According to the 4 Squadron operations record book, Flying Officer Eaton in the other Mustang carried on with his patrol and landed back at base at 21.45.

* Anyone who can assist Chris with his search for information should email him at squadprof@hotmail.com.

 

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