Sergeant Gordon Arthur Yeo


Sergeant Gordon Arthur Yeo

Death 17 May 1943 (aged 20)
Castricum aan Zee, Castricum Municipality, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Burial Bergen, Bergen Municipality, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Plot Plot 2. Row D. Grave 2.
Memorial ID 12726701 View Source
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Rank: Sergeant Service No:1317656 Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 617 Sqdn.
Son of Arthur and Ada Yeo, of Barry Dock, Glamorgan.
Age: 20 years old.

Gordon Arthur Yeo was the youngest member of Melvin Young's crew. He was the son of Arthur and Ada Yeo and had joined the RAF in 1941, wanting to be a pilot. Having been initially posted to Elementary Flying School in Canada, he eventually qualified as a gunner.

He crewed up with David Horsfall, Charles Roberts, Lawrence Nichols and Wilfred Ibbotson at 1660 Conversion Unit at RAF Swinderby, under skipper Graham Bower. When Bower went sick, most of the crew flew on an operation to Berlin on 16 January 1943, with Plt Off Vincent Duxbury as their pilot. By the time the crew moved to 57 Squadron at Scampton in mid March, Melvin Young had taken over.

On 25 March, they were posted across the base into the fledgling 617 Squadron and the young gunner would have met a few with much more experience than him. But he would also have found several more, like him, with very few operations under their belts.

Yeo wrote several letters to his parents during his time on 617 Squadron, and they give us some insight into how hard they trained, and what they did in their spare time.

Melvin drove the crew into Lincoln on a day off from training to watch a parade which was part of the city's 'Wings for Victory' week. This reminded the crew of their skipper's chequered history.'We had a good laugh at the blokes all dressed up in flying clothes and sitting in the dinghy. [Melvin Young] had a good laugh at them because he had detailed them.' Later, he told his parents about Young's determined efforts to ensure they were trained hard: 'You say you want to know the name of our skipper, well here it is, S/Ldr H M Young, he is not so bad lately, I expect that is because we are getting used to him, but he is the cause more or less of us not getting leave.'

The Lancaster's front gun turret was not used during most war time operations, but on the Dams Raid it was manned as the modification for the special mine had necessitated the removal of the mid upper turret. So Yeo would have used it to fire directly ahead of him at the Möhne's gun emplacements as Young kept the aircraft steady in its bombing run.

AJ-A was shot down at the last moment of danger shortly after they had passed over the Dutch coast. Gordon Yeo's body was washed ashore on 27 May 1943, along with those of Lawrence Nichols and Vincent MacCausland. They were all buried in Bergen General Cemetery.

(courtesy of ..© copyright Charles Foster/Dambusters Blog. Please do not copy or quote from text without acknowledging source.)




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