Shulemson, Sydney Simon ; 1915-2007

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Shulemson, Sydney Simon ; 1915-2007

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  • Sydney S. Shulemson
  • Sydney Shulemson

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Dates of existence

1915 - 2007


Born 22 October, 1915 in Montreal, Quebec, Sydney S. Shulemson spent the better part of his early years living and working in the Montreal area with his family, Mr. and Mrs. Saul Shulemson. Upon graduating from high school Shulemson was accepted into McGill University where he briefly studied Engineering before the Great Depression forced him to drop out and find a job. Working briefly for a New York based advertisement agency, he eventually moved on to work for his uncle at a Montreal print company until the outbreak of the Second World War.

On September 10, 1939 Shulemson enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force, graduating and earning his Wings and first commission in 1942. He was quickly placed with No. 404 Squadron in Scotland which was tasked with coastal patrol and defence. During his service, Shulemson developed the 'ship buster' technique, a low level rocket based attack used against enemy ships. Using his engineering skills, he created a mathematical formula in which the pilot could know at what speed, altitude, and angle he should fire his rockets, thereby slipping them under the water and up and into the hull of the ship. Prior to this invention, the Bristol Beaufighter, despite having wing-mounted rockets equipped, could not successfully destroy enemy convoys.

Due to the success of the 'ship buster' technique, Shulemson was tasked with training other squadrons and by 1944 had been promoted to Flight Officer before finishing his military career as Squadron Leader. After the Second World War, Shulemson aided the Israeli Air Force during its formation in 1947, finding viable aircraft as well as recruiting talented pilots, including George 'Buzz' Beurling, to the cause. He married in 1989 at the age of seventy-four to Ella Shulemson after years of bachelorhood. He passed away 25 January, 2007 due to a heart attack. He was ninety-one.

For his bravery and ingenuity during the war, Shulemson became the most decorated Jewish Canadian during the Second World War receiving the Distinguished Service Order (DSO), the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), 39-45 Star, Air Crew Europe Star with France and Germany clasp, Defence Medal, Canadian Volunteer Service Medal with bar (CVSM), the War Medal, CDA and the LSM.


Canada; Montreal; Israel; Europe; Scotland; United States; Florida;

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RCAF; Royal Canadian Air Force; Flying Officer; Squadron Leader; Coastal Defence; Pilot;

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The Air Force Museum of Alberta

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  • English



The Air Force Museum of Alberta Archives - AF2006.001
Wikipedia - Sydney S. Shulemson
Globe and Mail - 'Syd Shulemson, Pilot 1915-2007: RCAF flyer won the DSO and DFC as a 'ship buster' and later recruited men and arms for a putative Israeli air force' obituary. By Steve Mertl. Published Saturday, February 3, 2007.

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