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Thread: Jim Sheddan C/O 486 NZ Squadron dies at 92

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    Default Jim Sheddan C/O 486 NZ Squadron dies at 92

    From the New Zealand Herald. - Lest we forget one more hero goes to his rest.

    Jim Sheddan, last commanding officer of 486 (NZ) Squadron and one of the great characters of the wartime RNZAF has died at the age of 92.

    Close friend Peter Wheeler said today the veteran fighter pilot died yesterday in a Whangaparaoa hospice, north of Auckland, two weeks after being taken ill.

    Sheddan, awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross in May 1945, was given command of 486 that month in the last stages of the war, and led the squadron until it was disbanded later in the year.

    Johnnie Johnson, the RAF's top-scoring fighter pilot of the war and a man who knew the New Zealander well, called Sheddan a "prickly pear" and Johnny Iremonger, an earlier commanding officer of 486, wrote that Sheddan "enjoyed off-duty life to the full".

    Ill-discipline, drinking episodes, scrapes and sheer cussedness spelled trouble for Sheddan in his early years.

    He joined the RNZAF in April 1941, learned to fly in New Zealand and after more training in England joined 485 (NZ) Squadron, flying Spitfires, in October 1942.

    Sheddan had an unhappy time at 485, admitting in his 1993 book Tempest Pilot, his story of his wartime years, that he was a "problem child" and that "keeping out of trouble was not one of my strong points".

    He and the squadron parted company in January 1943 and for the next five months Sheddan flew Typhoons on delivery flights around Britain. He enjoyed the aircraft and volunteered to join 486 Squadron, operating Typhoons at Tangmere on England's south coast under Des Scott, one of New Zealand's wartime air greats.

    Scott was aware of Sheddan's troubled background but took him at face value, giving him the chance to make good.

    With Scott's understanding and leadership, Sheddan smartened up and prospered, turning into a top-class pilot, eventually rewarded with command of the squadron.

    Sheddan was lucky to escape with his life on October 3, 1943 when his engine seized after his Typhoon was hit by flak coming out of France.

    He successfully ditched the fighter, skilfully planing the tail along the calm water until its speed slowed.

    Few pilots survived ditching a heavy Typhoon but Sheddan did.

    He then spent a difficult 19 hours in his dinghy in freezing conditions until rescued by an RAF amphibian Walrus the next day while his squadron circled protectively overhead.

    But his troubles were still not over.

    By the time he was picked up the Channel had become rough and heaving seas tore off one of the Walrus' floats, preventing it from taking off.

    For an hour Sheddan and a Walrus crew member lay on one wing, gripping its leading edge, to balance the loss of the heavy float.

    The pilot slowly taxied the little aircraft toward England before an Air Sea Rescue boat hauled them all aboard.

    In mid-1944 the squadron exchanged its Typhoons for the bigger and more powerful Tempests and then took on the German V1s, the flying bombs or doodlebugs, that began falling on the southeast and London in June 1944.

    Sheddan played a full role in the battle against what the pilots called "Divers" and shot down seven V1s and shared another.

    486 flew to the Continent to operate in the autumn after the flying bombs ceased to rain down, their bases in the Pas des Calais in France over-run by Allied Forces.

    By the time the war ended Sheddan was credited with destroying 5-1/2 German aircraft.

    Sheddan, born Cornelius James in March 1918, came from a large family that farmed outside Waimate in South Canterbury. Alex, an older brother, a bomb aimer in the RNZAF, was killed on his first operation, his Lancaster shot down over Holland just before Christmas 1943.
    Sheddan is survived by two sons.


    Dyan

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    The Typhoon he ditched 3-10-1943 was JP676; he also forced landed Tempest JN854 5-7-1944 near Netherfield in Sussex after his radiator was damaged by own ammunition on a V1-Patrol.
    Regards,
    Henk.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Henk Welting View Post
    The Typhoon he ditched 3-10-1943 was JP676; he also forced landed Tempest JN854 5-7-1944 near Netherfield in Sussex after his radiator was damaged by own ammunition on a V1-Patrol.
    Regards,
    Henk.
    Hi wondering if you can help? I am researching the loss of one of 486 Sdn's pilots A A brown. So far I have found 2 combat report both say he bailed out of L'harve after strafing flack ships. He was seen to get into his dingy and a boat was observed going out to him. However due to being low on fuel they had to leave before they saw the boat reached him and so never saw if he was recovered.

    If if you have any info that may help with my research or could direct me to any sources I would be most greatfull.

    many thanks

    Andy

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    Default A A Brown

    From my For Your Tomorrow - A record of New Zealanders who have died while serving with the RNZAF and Allied Air Services since 1915 (Volume Two: Fates 1943-1998):

    Sun 16 May 1943
    FIGHTER COMMAND
    Roadstead - shipping reconnaissance of Bay de la Seine, France
    486 Squadron, RNZAF (Tangmere, Sussex - 11 Group)
    Typhoon IB EJ969/A - took off at 0600 with the rest of the Squadron, which came across some 12-15 E-boats and an armed trawler about 8 miles off the French coast north of St Aubin-sur-Mer. During the encounter EJ969 was hit by flak. Streaming smoke from under its nose, the Typhoon turned away and headed for base. However, the damage was so serious that the pilot was soon obliged to climb to 1500 feet and bale out before complete engine failure occurred. He was seen to enter the sea safely and get into his dinghy (at map ref A6283), the Squadron radioing a ‘Mayday’ at 0644 and circling above him for as long as possible before returning to base. However, afterwards nothing further was seen of him and he is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.
    Pilot: NZ404886 Fg Off Andrew Alexander BROWN, RNZAF - Age 24. 617hrs.

    Errol

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    Errol
    Thank you for your reply. I lost the details of this site and have only just come across it the other day.
    can you think of any other way I can find out more about A A Brown?

    Quote Originally Posted by Errol Martyn View Post
    From my For Your Tomorrow - A record of New Zealanders who have died while serving with the RNZAF and Allied Air Services since 1915 (Volume Two: Fates 1943-1998):

    Sun 16 May 1943
    FIGHTER COMMAND
    Roadstead - shipping reconnaissance of Bay de la Seine, France
    486 Squadron, RNZAF (Tangmere, Sussex - 11 Group)
    Typhoon IB EJ969/A - took off at 0600 with the rest of the Squadron, which came across some 12-15 E-boats and an armed trawler about 8 miles off the French coast north of St Aubin-sur-Mer. During the encounter EJ969 was hit by flak. Streaming smoke from under its nose, the Typhoon turned away and headed for base. However, the damage was so serious that the pilot was soon obliged to climb to 1500 feet and bale out before complete engine failure occurred. He was seen to enter the sea safely and get into his dinghy (at map ref A6283), the Squadron radioing a ‘Mayday’ at 0644 and circling above him for as long as possible before returning to base. However, afterwards nothing further was seen of him and he is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.
    Pilot: NZ404886 Fg Off Andrew Alexander BROWN, RNZAF - Age 24. 617hrs.

    Errol

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    Andy,

    You could request a free photocopy of his RNZAF service record from Personnel Records, New Zealand Defence Force, Trentham - more info here:
    http://www.nzdf.mil.nz/personnel-records/nzdf-archives/

    Incidentally, Edith Brown, a sister of Andrew's later married fellow 486 Squadron pilot Jack Stafford.

    Errol

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