Donald Henry Yorke
1467118, Sergeant Donald Henry Yorke, Age 28
21 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 15 March 1943
Sergeant 1467118, 21 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Died 15/03/1943.
Born 13th October 1914 in Felixstowe, fourth of five children of Harry Yorke and Eleanor Mary nee Taylor. In 1939 the family were living at The Cottage, Church Road, Felixstowe. His father a retired Postman died in 1940 and his mother appears to have moved to Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
At 1647 hrs 15th March 1943 Ventura AE742 took off from Methwold to bomb la Pleine Airfield in Brittany. The plane was damaged at 1755 hrs in the port engine and ditched at 1805 hrs between Guernsey and the French coast. Air Gunner Sergeant Yorke was killed & 2 others taken prisoner. Commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.
During the early part of the war, 21 Squadron, flying Blenheim IVs, played a prominent part in 2 Group's offensive against shipping in the English Channel and the North Sea, and "fringe" targets on the Continent. The squadron went to Malta in December 1941, and, flying from Luqa, attacked shipping in the Mediterranean and land targets in North Africa. It was disbanded on 14th March 1942, and re-formed the same day in England. Later that year it received new equipment in the form of the Lockheed Ventura, and on 6th December, operating from Methwold, was one of the squadrons which made the daring low-level attack on the Phillips radio and valve factory at Eindhoven. 21 Squadron continued daylight operations with Venturas-albeit spasmodically. until early September 1943.
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Lockheed Ventura Mark I, AE742 on an earlier mission over Ijmuiden