Canadian Virtual War Memorial

David Ernest Hornell

In memory of:

Flight Lieutenant David Ernest Hornell

June 25, 1944

Military Service


Service Number:

J/7594

Age:

34

Force:

Air Force

Unit:

Royal Canadian Air Force

Division:

162 Sqdn

Citation(s):

The following details were given in the London Gazette of July 28th, 1944:- Flt. Lt. Hornell was captain and first pilot of a twin engined amphibian aircraft engaged in an anti-submarine patrol in northern waters. A fully surfaced U-boat was sighted travelling at high speed on the port beam, and Flt. Lt. Hornell at once attacked. His aircraft had been seen and there could be no surprise. The U-boat altered course and opened up with fire which became increasingly fierce and accurate. At a range of 1,300 metres the guns of the aircraft replied and hits were obtained, but the aircraft itself was hit and badly damaged, and its starboard gun jammed. Ignoring the fire Flt. Lt. Hornell carefully manoeuvred for attack. Holed in many places, oil pouring from the starboard engine which with the starboard wing was on fire, and with petrol tanks endangered, the aircraft was very difficult to control. Nevertheless the captain decided to press his attack, and bringing his aircraft down low released his depth charges in a perfect straddle. The bows of the U-boat were lifted out of the sea; it sank, and the crew were seen in the water. The plight of the aircraft and crew was now desperate. With the utmost coolness Flt. Lt. Hornell took his badly damaged, blazing aircraft into the wind and brought it safely on to the heavy swell where it rapidly settled down. After ordeal by fire came ordeal by water. Two of the crew succumbed from exposure, and the survivors were finally rescued after 21 hours in the water. Blinded and completely exhausted, Flt. Lt. Hornell died shortly after being picked up. By pressing home a skilful and successful attack against fierce opposition, with his aircraft in a precarious condition, and by fortifying and encouraging his comrades in the subsequent ordeal this officer displayed valour and devotion to duty of the highest order.

Honours and Awards:

Victoria Cross

Additional Information


Born:

January 26, 1910
Toronto Island, Ontario

Enlistment:

January 8, 1941

Son of Harry Alexander Hornell and Emily Crook Hornell; husband of Genevieve Madge Hornell, of Drayton, Ontario. He was born on Toronto Island, Ontario and he lived in Toronto. He joined the RCAF on 8 January 1941, just three weeks before his 31st birthday, and age limit for uniformed enlistment and received his 'wings' on 25 September 1941. Flight-Lieutenant Hornell was the first member of the RCAF to earn the Victoria Cross in the Second World War.

Commemorated on Page 338 of the Second World War Book of Remembrance. Request a copy of this page.

David Ernest Hornell is a recipient of the Victoria Cross.
Complete list of Canadian Victoria Cross Recipients

Burial Information


Cemetery:

LERWICK NEW CEMETERY
Zetland (Shetland), United Kingdom

Grave Reference:

Terrace 7B. Grave 17

Location:

From Sumburgh Airport, take the A 970 to Lerwick (approx 35 miles). Enter Lerwick and follow the signs for Old Port. At the top of the hill that leads down into the Old Port, turn sharp right into Knab Road. The cemetery is situated at the junction of Knab Road and Gressey Loan.

Information courtesy of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Digital Collection

Send us your images
  • Photo of DAVID ERNEST HORNELL– In memory of the men and women memorialized on the pages of the Winnipeg Evening Tribune. Submitted for the project, Operation: Picture Me
  • Newspaper clipping– In memory of the men and women memorialized on the pages of the Winnipeg Evening Tribune. Submitted for the project, Operation: Picture Me
  • Newspaper clipping– Memorialized on the pages of the Globe and Mail. Submitted for the project, Operation Picture Me
  • Newspaper clipping– Memorialized on the pages of the Globe and Mail. Submitted for the project, Operation Picture Me
  • Newspaper clipping– Memorialized on the pages of the Globe and Mail. Submitted for the project, Operation Picture Me
  • Newspaper clipping– Memorialized on the pages of the Globe and Mail. Submitted for the project, Operation Picture Me
  • Newspaper clipping– Memorialized on the pages of the Globe and Mail. Submitted for the project, Operation Picture Me
  • Newspaper clipping– Memorialized on the pages of the Globe and Mail. Submitted for the project, Operation Picture Me
  • Newspaper clipping– Memorialized on the pages of the Globe and Mail. Submitted for the project, Operation Picture Me
  • Newspaper clipping– Memorialized on the pages of the Globe and Mail. Submitted for the project, Operation Picture Me
  • Newspaper clipping– Memorialized on the pages of the Globe and Mail. Submitted for the project, Operation Picture Me
  • Newspaper clipping– Memorialized on the pages of the Globe and Mail. Submitted for the project, Operation Picture Me
  • Memorial– Barrie Military Park, Canadian Victoria Cross Recipients, Cenotaph
  • Photo of David Ernest Hornell– 22/06/44 162 SQN Shown above are two captains of the Canso Flying Boats operating in 162 SQN RCAF Squadron against German submarines in the North Atlantic. On the left is F/O Denny Denomy, Chatham, Ontario, on the right is F/L David Hornell of Mimico, Ontario
  • Photo of David Hornell
  • Newspaper Clipping– Extract from the London Gazette
  • Newspaper Clipping– The Toronto Star June 6, 1945, page 8
The names of the crew from They Shall Grow Not Old published by Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum, Brandon, Man:
F/Sgt. (FE) Donald S. Scott, Mentioned in Despatches, age 22, from Pakenham, Ont.
Sgt. (FE) Fernand St. Laurent, Mentioned in Despatches, age 24, from La Point au Pere, Quebec.
  • Grave Marker
  • Cemetery

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