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A little bit of help please Gentlemen.

My mother has been researching her family tree, she's joined all the online search websites etc and has come across something quite intriguing.

Her fathers cousin was killed during the second world war, his trail ends abruptly with "Shot down, Portsmouth Harbour 13.7.43"

Now, the rest of the family was in the British army so I feel it's safe to assume he wasn't in the Luftwaffe, the research search engines have military links but all seem to be army records orientated. If he was shot down I'm guessing he was RAF or FAA. I doubt he was cutting about in a spitfire as everyone else in the family was Privates or had reached the giddy heights of Corporal in various infantry regiments. I'm guessing he was aircrew.

I've found a website that lists air raids on Portsmouth and there doesn't seem to be any on that day so again I'm guessing but it looks like Jacks shooting skills may have been surprisingly good that day, their aircraft recognition skills somewhat lacking.

The person in question is Earnest James Yarnall age 27. Any pointers would be good please.


Lantern Swinger
done a search of the archives of brit planes which crashed / shot down over pompey area in '43 sorry shippers but cant appear to find any records regarding that surname.
Thanks NG.

That's top banana. The parents names and the address are a dead cert fit. We may well have a few diffy bits of info this end but that's a great help.

Many thanks.

Anyone know how I can find out anything about how he died?


wet_blobby said:
Thanks NG.

That's top banana. The parents names and the address are a dead cert fit. We may well have a few diffy bits of info this end but that's a great help.

Many thanks.

Anyone know how I can find out anything about how he died?

I have no idea how this information is written into official record, but is there a chance that his aircraft was attacked a good distance from the final crash site, or would he have been attacked where the record states 'shot down'?

Could there be a posthumous award of medals for him or other members of the crew for that mission? It may be written up in a citation, but only if he wasn't shot down by friendly anti-air.
Hello again Blobs - See this forum on the RAF Commands website:

Tim Gates said:
RE: Leslie Ernest YARNALL died 9/7/43


Flt Sgt Yarnall was one of ten crew of a Catalina flying-boat, FP 155, belonging to a detachment of 210 Sqdn based at Gibraltar. This a/c was sent to investigate a damaged U-boat off Cap St Vincent, Portugal, on 9/7/43. It found the U-boat and came under fire, was hit and lost one engine. The Catalina then ditched and sank. There were two casulaties - Flt Sgt Yarnall and a Canadian, F.O. Ray Hunter (comemmorated panel 174 at Runnymeade). Three days later, on the 12/7/43 the eight survivors were picked up by HMS Swale (escorting a damaged ammunition ship) and taken to Casablanca.

There are published accounts of this action in the 210 Sqn history - "To the ends of the earth: 210 Squadron's Catalina Years" by Mike Seymour and Bill Balderson (Page Research Books); and in "U-boat versus Aircraft" by Norman Franks, 1998, Grub Street Books (some inaccuracies in this).

I have more info on this if needed.
NG, You're a star. Thank you very much, it's becoming clear how the 13.7.43 date figures, considering the crew didn't get picked up until the 12th....admin trail etc and being on detachment from the main group that was based in Hamworthy, I take it the records office for coastal command was in Pompey?
See Coastal Command & Maritime Air Association website at, particularly this:

CCMAA website said:
The following is an extract from the MOD RAF Website:

"Personnel Records

Royal Air Force personnel records are held at RAF Innsworth. If service number and details are known, please quote it in correspondence. Innsworth will only divulge information to the person to whom it refers or, if he or she has died, to his or her immediate next of kin. Anyone else must obtain written permission from the person about whom they are enquiring, or from his or her next of kin, before any information will be given to them.

Innsworth make a charge of £30.00 for any information they provide; cheques made payable to 'MOD Funds'. The only people exempt from charge are the person to whom the records refer or their widow or widower."

For further details:

Delighted to be of service on such occasions but now it's time to go sailing.
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