ARCHIVED - Biography: Honorary Colonel Arthur Sherwin

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Backgrounder / May 13, 2015

From Royal Canadian Air Force Public Affairs

Honorary Colonel Arthur Sherwin was born and raised in the United Kingdom. A graduate of King Henry VIII High School in Coventry England, he joined the Royal Air Force (RAF) in 1941.

From his initial ground training in Wales, he was posted to Canada for flight training at 2 Elementary Flying Training School in Fort William, Ontario, and 14 Service Flying Training School in Aylmer, Ontario, where he flew Tiger Moths and Harvards. Completing this training, he was sent back to the United Kingdom for further flying training on the Spitfire 2B at 17 Advanced Flying Unit in Watton, England, and 61 Operational Training Unit in Rednal, England.

In late 1942, he was posted to 232 Squadron in North Africa, flying Spitfire 5Bs. After 27 missions, during which he damaged several enemy fighters and had one confirmed kill, he was shot down over Tunisia and taken prisoner.

Honorary Colonel Sherwin spent the next two years in Stalag Luft III prisoner of war camp, located 100 miles south of Berlin. Stalag Luft III was the camp where the famous Great Escape occurred, and Honorary Colonel Sherwin was part of the escape organization team.

Escapee names were drawn from a hat, and his disappointment at not being selected turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Of the 100 men chosen to escape that night, only 76 made it out of the tunnel. Of these, only three eventually made their way back to Great Britain. The remaining 73 were re-captured and 50 of them were shot on Hitler’s command.

Liberated in 1945, Honorary Colonel Sherwin stayed on with the Air Force, serving in Egypt and Saudi Arabia where he flew Tempest 6s. He left the RAF in 1947, and shortly thereafter immigrated to Canada.

From 1950 until his retirement in 1983, Honorary Colonel Sherwin worked for Ontario Hydro as Telecommunications Services Supervisor. He was active in the International Communications Association, and Canadian Business Telecom Association where he was president from 1976 to 1977. He has two daughters, Lydia and Janet and two step sons, David and Ian.

He served as honorary colonel of 426 Transport Training Squadron at 8 Wing Trenton, Ontario, from January 2008 until January 2014.

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