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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. J B Shepherd

 

John Bean Shepherd, of Edinburgh, joined 603 Squadron, Auxiliary Air Force before the war as an Aircrafthand. When the Auxiliary Air Force introduced a scheme to train its own NCO pilots, he remustered as an Airman u/t Pilot, with the rank of LAC.

Called up on 24th August 1939, Shepherd completed his training, converted to Spitfires and joined 234 Squadron at Middle Wallop on 13th September 1940.

 

 

Above: Shepherd while serving with 234 Squadron and (below) with his Alvis car at St. Eval.

 

 

He damaged a Ju88 on 23rd March 1941, shared a Me109 on 17th June and shared a probable Ju88 on 12th August. Commissioned in August 1941, Shepherd destroyed a Me109 and damaged another on 15th October.


In early 1942 he was posted to 118 Squadron at Predannack (below with F/Lt. Richard Salisbury of 118).

 

All images courtesy of Steve Brew via John McGill.

 

Shepherd shared a Do217 over Dieppe on 19th August and was awarded the DFC (gazetted 22nd September 1942). He was then a Flight Commander.

On 18th July 1943 he destroyed a Me109 and shared another, on the 25th damaged a Me109 and on 2nd August he probably destroyed another. Tour-expired, he was awarded a Bar to the DFC (gazetted 27th August 1943) and posted away.

In June 1944 Shepherd joined 610 Squadron. He destroyed seven V1's in the latter half of the year. The squadron went to Armament Practice Camp at Warmwell in February 1945 and Shepherd took temporary command. While there the squadron was informed that it was being disbanded on 3rd March.


Shepherd took command of 41 Squadron at Eindhoven in early April 1945. On the 14th he shot down a Me110 towing a Me163 rocket fighter, on the 16th a Fw190, on the 20th a Fw190 and shared another, on the 30th a Me109 and a Fw190 and on 1st May he shared another Fw190. He was awarded a second Bar to the DFC (gazetted 1st September 1945).


On 22nd January 1946 Shepherd was killed in a flying accident.

Tempest V NV640 suffered engine failure on take-off. He force -landed straight ahead but the aircraft struck a frozen anti-tank ditch and Shepherd's seat harness broke on impact.

He was 26 and is buried in Hamburg Cemetery, Ohlsdorf, Germany.

 

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