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Shelnutt Barney Walker

Barney Walker Shelnutt
Serial Number:
Royal Canadian Air Force
Date of Death:
Runnymede Memorial, Englefield Green, Runnymede Borough, Surrey, England
Panel 61

From the Bulloch County's World War II Roll of Honor: B. W. Shelnutt was born on February 7, 1918, and lived with his family in Statesboro, GA. He graduated from Statesboro High School and completed a course of study in the Business Department at South Georgia Teacher's College in 1937.

SGT Shelnutt went to Toronto to enlist in the Royal Canadian Air Force on April 22, 1940. He was the first Georgia resident to volunteer for service with the RCAF in World War II. He was a specialist in Wireless Telegraphy and Radio work and graduated as a flying observer and gunner. In early 1941, he arrived in England, where he was assigned to No. 75 (NZ) Squadron, Royal Air Force. He flew more than 40 missions over German-held territory. On one mission, his plane's fuel tanks were damaged by anti-aircraft fire, forcing him and the crew to bail out over south England when the plane ran out of fuel while returning from the mission. His Commanding Officer wrote to his mother that he was one of the best wireless operators in the squadron.

On the night of October 26, 1941, his Wellington bomber was heavily damaged by flak upon returning from a mission over Germany. The pilot was able to "ditch" in the North Sea, and all the crew but Shelnutt escaped from the sinking aircraft and were later rescued. The pilot of the bomber wrote to SGT Shelnutt's mother that B.W. had "remained at his post too long after the plane was forced down on the sea in attempts to send an S.O.S. and was drowned."