Robert L. Shedden was born on February 5, 1919, in Glen, New York, son of Margaret and John S. Shedden, a WWI Veteran. He had two sisters jane and Margaret and a brother Shepard. Robert was a graduate of Williams College, Class of 1940 and had completed one year of Law School at Columbia University, when he enlisted in November of 1941, one month before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
He later married Virginia Shaw of Forest Avenue in May of 1942 before going overseas. Robert enlisted and served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II.
Robert L. Shedden Second Lieutenant was assigned to the 2nd Antisub Squadron. His crew and aircraft belonged to the US Army Air Corps 2nd Squadron which had been diverted at the last minute to St. Evall, England because of a request of Winston Churchill, to aid the RAF 19th Sub Hunter Group at a critical time in the Battle of the Atlantic.
Detailed information is available by obtaining the report of the incident MCAR 6384. Page 32 of Max Schoenfelds book, STALKING THE U-BOAT, published by The Smithsonian, contains the following:
On January 22, 1943, Robert Shedden's aircraft S of the 2nd Squadron S/2 was returning from when bad weather settled in over southwest England. Approaching the coast of England, the plane requested that it be assisted by the 19 Group controller, who was asked to give it homing directions according to established procedures, to enable the plane to find its airfield.
Unfortunately, this request was made on the wrong radio frequency, and the group controller declined to respond. Although the controller at St. Eval then attempted to do so, he was too late, as the plane, flying through the pea soup, slammed into the shoreline cliffs about two miles east of Hartland Point, 40 miles up the coast from Newquay, killing the entire crew. The plane hit the Cliff-side about 50 feet below its crest.
Lieutenant Robert L. Shedden and the entire crew of his B-24D, serial # 41-24018 were killed, when the plane a B-24 Liberator, hit terrain at Hartland Point in the U. K. on January 22, 1943.
In the judgment of the American Unit, this loss was quite unnecessary, and could have been avoided either by the pilot who had adequate fuel, remaining off the coast until he was able to get ground assistance, or if he was going on instruments, to proceed to do so at a safe altitude, or by the exercise of better judgment by the officer in charge of the 19 Group radio station.
With some feeling, the loss report observed:
The aircraft was obviously in difficulty, consequently it is believed that the 19 Group Station should not have quibbled about a technicality.
The report also noted that strong verbal representation has been made to the AOC, 19 Group that it was essential that in an emergency, all possible assistance will not be withheld because of a technicality.
2nd Lieutenant Robert L. Shedden, U. S. Army Air Forces received an
Air Medal posthumously. Besides his wife and parents, he was survived by his two sisters Margaret and Jane and his younger brother Capt. Shepard T. Shedden
Note: The controller who refused to give radio homing assistance was a member of the RAFs 19th Group.
★ World War II Victory Medal★ Air Medal★ Purple Heart★ American Campaign Medal★ Army Presidential Unit Citation★
Army Good Conduct Medal★ European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign