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To Mrs. John S. Shedden
January 31, 1943 [Washington, D.C.]
Dear Mrs. Shedden:
I returned from Africa late Friday night and a few hours later Allen telephoned Katherine from Fort Knox that you had had tragic news regarding your boy overseas. I had just returned from Algiers and Tunisia where a desperate air battle is now going on. Fortunately for us the German losses are double ours, but to the American boy who gives his life and to his family it is not a matter of odds, but a great tragedy.
The Germans are paying a bitter price in Russia and Africa, and in Germany and over France and Belgium, but that does not offset the inevitable loss of our fine young men. Our great hope is to bring this war to an early conclusion.
I hope you and Mr. Shedden can find some solace in the fact that your boy made the great sacrifice in a great cause, that he did his best and gave his all to make the world a better and safer place.1
You have my profound sympathy.
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, General Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed letter.
1. Robert Shedden was the brother of Allen Brown’s wife. Marshall later sent the following telegram to Robert’s father: “I have just obtained the following information regarding Robert’s death: As navigator of a plane returning from an anti-submarine patrol in very bad weather on January 22d, Lieutenant Shedden and other members of plane crew of ten were instantly killed when plane struck side of a hill in North Cleave, England.” (Marshall to Shedden, Telegram, February 17, 1943, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)
Recommended Citation: ThePapers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland and Sharon Ritenour Stevens(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 3, “The Right Man for the Job,” December 7, 1941-May 31, 1943 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991), pp. 521-522.