KELSHALL – Arnold Sinclair

1394902 – A.S. Kelshall – Trinidad – F/O – Pilot – attested 12.8.41
133424 – commissioned 6.11.42 – P/War 26.4.44

[Source: NA AIR 2/6876 – Nominal Roll of Coloured Candidates, October 1944]

Flight Lieutenant – Pilot – 254 Sqn, Coastal Command – Beaufighter – POW

Educated QRC, Volunteer Trinidad ETS, trained at Piarco 60hrs Tiger Moth; UK training 60hrs Peterborough; Canada training Harvard a/c, Prince Edward Island. Shot down and wounded when flying a beaufighter against a German convoy off the Dutch coast. Sent to Stalag Luft 3, transferred to Ludenvalde, POW # 433427. Eventually escaped from Russian custody at the end of the war.

[Source: CMHA]

245 Squadron, 1940. A.S. Kelshall  front row, 3rd from right. [Foto: RAF]

Top right: A.S. Kelshall; Bottom left: John Shirley

[Courtesy: Family of F/O John Shirley & Aircrew Remembrance Society]

Kelshall Family0002

“A family group photo which includes my uncle, Arnold Sinclair Kelshall (on the right). Arnold was coastal command on Beaufighters and was shot down and  held in Stalag Luft 3 for about 1 year. This photo would have been taken right after my uncle and his brother Philip Walter Kelshall (my father, on the left) were demobilised, as I am the young lad in the photo, and I was born June 1944. I was born whilst Arnold was missing in action, and that’s why my initials are A.S.B. Kelshall in his honour. Both my uncle Arnold and my dad were at Cambridge university studying law when the war broke out. They joined the Cambridge University Air Squadron initially. My dad went on to be an instructor at RAF Cranwell before joining the Mosquito squadron. Arnold turned up later in a German prison camp, having been shot down in the North Sea off the coast of Holland, and been “rescued” by a German U-boat that luckily surfaced a few hundred yards away! Uncle Arnold went back to practice law with the family law firm in Port-of-Spain, TM Kelshall & co.”

[Courtesy: Anthony Simon Kelshall, son of Flight Lieutenant P.W. Kelshall]

4 additions to “KELSHALL – Arnold Sinclair”

  1. A.E.Smith adds:

    Hello Jerome

    I stumbled across a group picture of 254 squadron taken in front of a Beaufighter. A.S.Kelshall is I believe, seated front row, 3rd from right. The photo can be found on the website of John Care who was squadron leader. Also and rather interestingly the same photo, at a reduced resolution can be viewed on youtube by typing in ‘beaufighter’ as keyword.

    here’s the link . . .

    Happy new year and keep up the good work
    A Smith

  2. A.E. Smith adds:

    Hi Jerome

    254 Sqn used Blenheims until summer 1942 so this photo will be later than 1940 – my guess would be 42/43 judging from the camo on the plane (guess that makes me a bit of an anorak).


  3. Michael NEISS adds:

    My mother, Monika, was born in Detmold in 1951 to a Caribbean GI and a German mother who worked at Hobart Barracks and who was called Ilse (or Else which would be a nickname for Elisabeth). Sadly, she was forced to give up my mother and her sister, Marion, for adoption a few years later. Therefore, most of the information I have is the product of sketchy childhood memories, family lore and some guess work. In later life, my grandmother married a military man and moved to Canada. Unfortunately, I have not been able to track her down. Back in the 1950’s and early 1960’s, my mother lived mostly at an orphanage in Iserlohn during the work weeks. But at on a few occasions, her mother would take her to work at the barracks where she met either her birth father or some comrades of his. (My mother still vividly recalls a merry bunch of GI:s who tried to teach her English children’s songs, like ‘London bridge is falling down’…). From these small excursions, my mother also remembers the name Arnold Sinclair, which led me to this site. My mother also says that her father was partly of African descent. Naturally, I am not presuming that we are related to the Kelshall family, as childhood memories can play tricks on you. On the other hand, I understand that the Caribbean Crew was a closely knit family and that there might still be someone out there who knew my natural grandfather. Therefore, I would be very thankful for any information that could point me in the right direction.
    Here is a picutre of my mother in younger years (

    Kind regards, Michael NEISS (

  4. Monika Neiß (Neiss) adds:

    Supplement / correction

    I am Monika, the mother my son Michael is writing about.
    I would like to complete my son’s request and correct it if necessary:
    I was born in 1951 in Iserlohn, Germany (not in Detmold).
    My mother’s name was Ilse. She worked as a service force in the canteen of the Hobart Barracks in Detmold.
    From my childhood memory I know this barracks. As a child my mother took me once a year: at Christmas last in 1959. She introduced me there to her future husband (Arnold) and father of her future children Robert and Susan Sinclair.
    That was the last time I saw my mother. She released me for adoption. As I learned later, she moved to Canada in 1973 with her new family. After 9 years of my life I left my dull home, the orphanage in Iserlohn and moved to adoptive parents.

    I think the Caribbean crew was a solid community where you were not just seeing each other. Maybe someone still remembers the time in Detmold and can give hints, which are helpful for the search for my biological father and grandfather of my son Michael? Maybe someone of you knows or knew Arnold and Ilse Sinclair and is willing to tell me and / or my son their whereabouts?

    For information that could point me in the right direction, I would be very grateful.

    Thanks for your support.
    Best regards
    Monika Neiss (Neiss)(

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