Joseph Israel Shaer

Flight Sergeant, 540 Squadron
Service number 1294047
Died 13 Apr 1944
Buried Wolvercote Cemetery, Oxford
Age 24

Headstone Inscription

Jacob was born on 29 September 1920 in Mile End, London to Polish born parents Samuel and Clara nee Gross and had three older siblings. Their father Samuel worked as a tailor.

Joseph, known as Joey, attended the Raines Foundation Grammar School, Bethnal Green. He enlisted in 1940. In 1942 he trained to be a navigator and was attached to 540 Squadron operating Mosquito aircraft from RAF Benson in Oxfordshire. 

Joseph was the navigator on Mosquito LR416 which departed RAF Benson on an operation to obtain photographs in the Munich area. A/C radioed, ‘returning to base’ at 10.35, but crashed at Abingdon at 11.10, killing the crew.

The Operational Record Book states: ‘Escape hatch came off and lost a wing recovering from dive at Kingston Bagpuize 13.4.44. 540 Sqn. LR416 crashed two miles from Kingston Bagpuize aerodrome when a wing came off while diving out of cloud. The primary cause was the detachment of the top escape hatch in high speed dive causing inconvenience.’

Joseph and his Canadian pilot Charles Cyril Drew, J/23033 were both killed. Charles was buried at Brookwood Military Cemetery.

Joseph is commemorated on the Pinner Shul Memorial Board.