Sheppard Caption Gallery

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Ronnie Hay parades Corsairs of the 6th Naval Fighter Wing over Columbo, Ceylon in May 1944. Cohesive formation flying was an essential element of the escort role often carried out by FAA fighters, and Hay was relentless in pushing his pilots towards excellence in that area. (Courtesy Tony Holmes and Osprey Publishing)

Ronnie Hat Balbo?

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Corsairs ranged on Victorious’ flight deck. The absence of any Avengers or Barracudas seems noteworthy and suggests she may have been at sea on a training sortie. Certainly, the type—and lack—of dress of the sailors on deck, and the markings on the landing gear flaps, indicate it was taken in the Far East sometime in the autumn of 1944.  (Courtesy Tony Holmes and Osprey Publishing)

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Strolling up the flight deck of Victorious after a mission—probably Operation OOLONG—pilots of the 47th Naval Fighter Wing exhibit the swagger, smiles and relief that accompanies the completion of a successful operation. Don Sheppard walks third from the right; Barry Hayter third from the left; while James Edmundson shares a laugh with Ronnie Hay at the left of the line. The officer talking with Sheppard appears to be Dusty Rhodes. (Courtesy Tony Holmes and Osprey Publishing)

Detail showing Sheppard

TF-57 pounds Hirara airfield on Miyako early in ICEBERG. Miyako, which Sheppard attacked a number of times, was a tough nut to crack, initially defended by an estimated nine heavy AA positions, 38 light positions and 12 machine guns. The relatively flat rolling terrain did not help. The light colour of the runways is derived from the coral used in their construction, which also made them relatively hard to damage and easy to repair. (Courtesy Tony Holmes and Osprey Publishing)

An 1836 squadron Corsair flown by 1836’s Senior Pilot, Lieutenant W. Knight. Don Sheppard flew JT-422 on a “Pin Point” navigation exercise on 27 October 1944, probably about the time this picture was taken.  Note the ‘T’ Wing designation has been informally chalked on the fuselage. (Courtesy Tony Holmes and Osprey Publishing)

Need new cpation here manybe? 
A number of Royal Marines saw distinguished service with the Fleet Air Arm in the Second World War, and Lieutenant-Colonel ‘Ronnie’ Hay was amongst the most illustrious. He saw action in virtually every theatre of the war, early on against terrible odds, and finished with a DSO, DSC and Bar, and an estimated four victories with nine shared (his original log book went down with HMS Ark Royal, preventing a precise total). A skilled, inspirational and outspoken officer, Hay’s leadership and commitment to training were instrumental to the success of the 47th Naval Fighter Wing and Don Sheppard.  (Courtesy Tony Holmes and Osprey Publishing)

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A year after the war ended, Don Sheppard formally receives his Distinguished Service Cross from Rear-Admiral Cuthbert Taylor RCN in a ceremony on the flight deck of HMCS Warrior in Halifax harbour. He now wears the straight stripes of an officer of the regular force but later admitted that flying in the post-war navy was not as enjoyable as during the war. (Sheppard papers)

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A landing gone wrong. Returning from the strike on Sigli, Sumatra in August 1944, 1834 squadron’s CO, Lieutenant-Commander Noel Charlton, was unable to jettison his drop tank, which burst into flames after it scrapped the deck when he landed on Victorious. Fast action by the fire-fighting party got Charlton out without injury, and the Corsair was repaired to fly again. (Sheppard papers)

Lieutenant-Commander Noel Charlton

Lieutenant-Commander Noel Charlton fire

Lieutenant-Commander Noel Charlton fire

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Victoious

Apparently an attack on Victorious

Vic burning from bomb

Damage to Vic from bomb


Damage to Vic from bomb

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The carriers of TF-57 anchored in sweltering Leyte Gulf during their break from ICEBERG in April 1945. Illustrious has gone home, and been replaced by Formidable. Unicorn was a Repair and Maintenance carrier designed to be able to operate and maintain any aircraft in the FAA inventory. During ICEBERG she largely operated out of Manus, repairing aircraft and ferrying replacement aircraft to the fleet, and she joined TF-57 for that purpose when it moved to Leyte. At one point Rear-Admiral Vian recommended she be utilized as a night carrier, so TF-57 could maintain pressure on Sakishima Gunto around the clock, but that measure was never adopted. This image demonstrates the distances and challenges involved in getting thousands of sailors ashore to take advantage of Leyte’s recreation facilities. (Sheppard papers)

Leyte Gulf...other side with Victorious in foregorund

I can get permission if you want these in the story

An Avenger from 849 squadron makes a perfect approach while landing on Victorious around the time of Operation MERIDIAN. One can easily discern the superior view the pilot had from its cockpit as opposed to that from a Corsair. The sturdy, durable TBR was extremely popular with aircrew, and was an excellent aircraft on the deck. Note the large bomb-bay, which normally accommodated one 1000-lb. or four 500-lb bombs (Sheppard papers)

Don Sheppard and the air mechanics who looked after his aircraft. Long after the war he remembered “I am full of admiration for those men who always seemed to be cheerful in spite of the conditions under which they lived and worked. I can never praise theme enough for ensuring that our aircraft performed perfectly in all respects every time we climbed into the cockpit.” With sadness he added, “I owe my life to those men and I don’t even remember their names today.” ((Sheppard papers) 

An Avenger of Victorious’ 849 squadron crosses the coast of Sumatra on its way to Palembang during operation MERIDIAN.  The RN used a different crew composition than the USN for its Avengers, replacing the radio operator/dorsal gunner with an Observer officer.  Seated behind the pilot, the Observer was akin to an ‘operations officer’, fulfilling the navigation duties and helping to make tactical decisions. One Canadian Observer, Lieutenant Ed Jess RCNVR, commanded 854 squadron during ICEBERG and in operations over Japan. Whether Observer, pilot or gunner, none would have enjoyed the prospect of having to deal with the jungle, or ‘ulu’, unfolding beneath them. (Sheppard papers)


This superb profile by Mark Styling depicts Don Sheppard’s personal ‘cab’ for a good part of his operational career.  All told, he flew Corsair II Ser. No. JT-410 some 42 times between August 1944 and January 1945, including on operations LENTIL and MERIDIANs I and II, and it was therefore the fighter he was flying for his first four victories. According to Styling, Lieutenant James Edmundson also flew this Corsair when he shot down a Japanese fighter on Operation MILLET. There is often confusion over the meaning of the various “distinguishing symbols” or markings, but these accurately reflect those promulgated under Confidential Admiralty Fleet Order 1901 issued in August 1944. ‘T’ represents the “standard Wing letter” assigned to the 47th Naval Fighter Wing; ‘8’ was one of  the four designated “squadron figures” for operational fighter squadrons, in this case 1836; and ‘H’ was the “terminal letter” allocated by individual squadron commanders (any letter could be used except for ‘E’, ‘I’,’ O’ or  ‘T’). According to the regulation, these letters were to be painted in sky but that and their position relative to the roundel sometimes varied. (Courtesy Mark Styling)

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Different angle on Sumatra/Palambang

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Great image to show clipped wing Corsair

USS Bluefish (SS-222)

HMCS Uganda

Vian... hard to find a good portrait of the man... found one from the National Portrait Gallery (UK), but they seemed pretty adamant that they did not want others using the images on their site. I like this one, because he looks tough and aloof... and he's in Whites, which puts him possibly in the Pacific

Nice action shot of USS Tang rescuing airmen... Truk, 1944

Tang returning to Pearl after her second war patrol May 1944.  USN Photo http://www.navsource.org

Oscar

Judy

Don Sheppard in VW Corsair... 2010




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