Language selection


Tour of Operations

Heroes Remember

A tour of operations on Bomber Command was 30 trips, 30 trips. A tour of operations on fighters was 250 hours. Our flight times on our squadron would be an hour, an hour and a half. Once in awhile they’d strap on extra gas tanks on the bottom of the bird and I think my longest trip in a Spit was maybe two hours and 30 minutes. You, once you get airborne you’d switch to the reserve tank and when it drained you’d jettison it you see. So that our trips were shorter but many more, 250 hours. Matter of fact I can tell you the number in my actual log book. Again, some of our flights would last, if we were doing bomb line patrol and we were close to the bomb line our flight might be 45 minutes but on the longer ones it could be well over two hours. Some days you would go maybe two or three days and not fly at all, but then other days you could do maybe two, three flights in a day. What did you do on the days you weren’t flying? Not a hell of a lot. We could go into the local town, I suppose and, but basically being on a tactical squadron not unlike the boys who were based in England where they got to know the local people, they could knock off and go into town and we couldn’t do that. Now when I was flying in England of course we could. And after my first tour, right from Italy I went back to England to take the gunnery leader course, that’s where operational pilots who had finished a tour on ops on fighter aircraft would go to the gunnery leader school and there you would train using fighter tactics, methods of attack and things of this nature and then you were supposed to go back to a squadron and become what’s known as the gunnery leader instructor, you’re supposed to teach the other guys.

Mr. Yarnell talks about all the flying they did. He also recalls what they did during downtime.

Cyrill St. Clair (Cy) Yarnell

Mr. Yarnell was born August 9, 1920 in Carlow, Ireland. He moved to Canada when he was 8 years old. He enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1940 at the age of 20. Mr Yarnell received his initial pilot training in Victoriaville, Quebec where he learned to fly the Fleet Finch, he then graduated on to the Harvard. He received flying instructor training in Trenton and trained pilots from many countries. After instructing for a year, Mr. Yarnell was sent overseas. He flew missions over North Africa, Italy and Germany and was involved in the battles at Liri Valley and Monte Cassino. Following the war, Mr. Yarnell continued with the RCAF, retiring in 1975 as a colonel. He is a member of the Air Force Association of Canada and is very active with the Air Force Museum in Trenton, Ontario. Mr. Yarnell and his wife, Phyllis, have three children, seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Cyrill St. Clair (Cy) Yarnell
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Air Force
601 Squadron
Spitfire Pilot

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

Related Videos

Date modified: