Author seeks help in solving mystery surrounding Morecambe Mustang Pilot killed in WWII Crash on Dutch Island of Texel

The wreckage of Flying Officer Skirrow
The crash site where Flying Officer Skirrow was killed during the Second World War. (Photo: Lancaster Guardian)

An author and historian is asking the public for information regarding a man from Morecambe who was killed during the Second World War.

Bomber Command author Chris Ward is hoping his audience might come forward with information that would help him on a research currently being undertaken by a German colleague of his.

His colleague is currently writing a book about the Allied airmen who were buried in the Den Burg Cemetery on the Dutch Island of Texel. The writer is about to complete his book.

The airmen number around 100. Among them is Flying Officer Edward Watson Skirrow of Morecambe. He was killed in July 1943 on a mission. He flew a Mustang with the 4 Army Co-operation Squadron.

His name is among the others listed on the Morecambe War Memorial. The memorial places his death at November 1941 which is incorrect.

Mr. Ward is hoping to find the relatives of Mr. Skirrow. He believes some of the local hero’s family might still live in the area.

His colleague showed him a photo of the crash site where Mr. Skirrow was said to have been killed. The photo also shows a German aircraft which he shot down before getting hit by a fatal flak from Texel.

He wanted to have a complete story about Mr. Skirrow. He is now asking for anyone with a photo of Mr. Skirrow for the book as well as information on the person.

It is assumed that the relatives remain unaware of the details of his death. Mr. Ward would want to contribute to giving the proper tribute the local hero deserves.

Edward Watson Skirrow was born to John William and Sarah Skirrow of Morecambe. He is one of three boys of the four children of John and Sarrah.

At the time of his death, he was on a mission working on orders with No. 4 Army Co-operation Squadron.

Mr. Ward translated the various reports concerning the death of F/O Skirrow and summarized the reports on the following information:

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.

The Lancaster Guardian reports that anyone who can assist Chris Ward with his search for information should email him at squadprof@hotmail.com.