Born in Montréal, Sydney Shulemson was among the most highly decorated pilots in RAF Coastal Command – because of his towering role in wreaking destruction on German shipping, to the extent of seriously crippling the whole Nazi war effort. The territory he covered was immense. It extended along the coastlines of Western Europe from the Bay of Biscay off the westcoast of France to the north of Norway. He led a wing of some 80 to 100 Beaufighter aircraft, four squadrons, which was most unusual for a flight lieutenant. « I was the only one with the experience to take charge, » he explained, « because fatalities among wing commanders were so high. » Shulemson won the DSO in 1943 for an attack on a convoy of enemy merchant vessels and four armed escort ships off the coast of Norway. He was cited not only for the skill in which he led the attack but also for his bravery in saving a fellow pilot from an attacking German ME 109.
For his contribution to Israel’s independence, Shulemson was awarded a special citation and badge honoring « fighters for the State of Israel. »
The DFC citation in1944 acclaimed Shulemson for his inspiring leadership and « consistently successful sorties against heavily defended convoys and units of the German navy off the Dutch and Norwegian coasts. » After completing his operational tour in December 1944, Shulemson was made rocket project leader of the Mosquito anti-shipping wing of the Royal Air Force coastal command, training a whole wing in tactics and markmanship and helping plan the strategy of missions. In 1947 with tension mounting in Palestine as Israel moved toward statehood, Shulemson played a leading role in coordinating a program that shipped out everything from men to equipment. His advice was key to the formation of the Israeli Air Force. For his contribution to Israel’s independence, Shulemson was awarded a special citation and badge honoring « fighters for the State of Israel. » The list of his community and business involvements since the days of the air force is impressively long.
1943: Distinguished Order of Services (DSO
1944: Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC):