Shropshire Second World War intelligence expert Eddie dies weeks before turning 101
An intelligence expert in the Second World War has died just weeks before his 101st birthday.
Eddie Shaw, who lived in Ellesmere, was an interpreter serving in Europe and in Africa, as well as at Bletchley Park translating transcripts from the Enigma machines.
He was placed on the military Roll of Honour in 2014.
His funeral service will be held at the Rhos Crematorium at Wrexham tomorrow at 10.30am. Donations in lieu of flowers will go to the Ellesmere and District Day Centre. Mr Shaw's coffin was draped with the regimental flag of the Intelligence Corps.
His family has thanked staff at Ellesmere House for the support and care given to Mr Shaw over the past six years.
Eddie's son Peter said that before the war Mr Shaw had worked in Germany as a waiter and it was only when the army realised that he was good at languages that he was asked to join the Intelligence Corps.
Before that he was a driver on convoy duty supplying the forward battle with food, water and ammunition with the 8th Army in Africa.
In his memoirs he wrote that on one occasion he was ordered to hand over his lorry to another driver while he and an Arab speaking interpreter, George Aziz, spent two weeks visiting Arab villages, gathering information from the sheik of each village relating to visiting German Forces, in return for money.
“It so happened that a convoy, including my lorry, was ambushed and captured by a forward German Unit who drove to Tripoli, boarded the prisoners on a ship bound for Italy, then by train northwards to Poland and the PoW Camp, which was next to the Auschwitz Death Camp. The British prisoners were forced to work in the death camp,” his memoirs read.
His work in intelligence to help the forces included being the only German speaker able to break German codes at a base south of Algiers when he covered the headquarters of Field Marshall Erwin Rommell’s Africa Corps.
“For recording purposes, we used gramophone records, which became wavy in the hot weather but I managed to acquire a recording by wire outfit from the Americans,” he said.
When the German forces left North Africa and made their way up through Italy, he followed. With the Allies advancing, Eddie moved into Germany and helped the forces to victory by tuning into the German army retreat.
He was even involved in the capture of an officer himself – Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, Deputy Abwehr Military Intelligence.
“On Christmas Eve we were issued with two 2lb tins of turkey between 14 men, so I motored in my Mercedes 170v to several German farms, obtaining a substantial amount of fare, and made visit to the Feldschloss brewery for a small barrel of beer," he added.
“On my way back I observed a track leading to a farm. I made a call, met Admiral Canaris, who was with his family in hiding. By gentleman’s agreement I allowed him to stay on until January 1, 1946, when I collected him for transfer to London for interrogation.”