Flight Sergeant Harold Yerdon - 431 Squadron  

Flight Sergeant Harold Robert Joseph Yerdon  - RCAF

F/Sgt Harold Yerdon was serving as an Air Gunner on board Lancaster Mk. X  KB-813 coded SE-S during a cross country training flight on October 25, 1944 in preparation for the squadron conversion from Halifaxes to Lancasters. The aircraft inexplicably crashed 11 miles southwest of Bedford near Tingrith killing all on board.

The other crewmembers were:

Name Service Service Age Hometown
P/O Gordon Wrigley RCAF Pilot 21 Hawkstone,ON
P/O James Schwerdfager RCAF Bomb Aimer 20 Ottawa, ON
P/O Robert Gillis RCAF Navigator 22 Halifax, NS 
F/Sgt Harvey Irwin RCAF Wireless Air Gunner 20 Barrie, ON
F/Sgt Alan Malaidack RCAF Air Gunner 21 Halifax, NS
Sgt Frederick Smith RAFVR F/E 21 Lincoln

 F/Sgt Harold Robert Joseph Yerdon was born on the 30th April 1925 and was the foster son of Joseph and Pearl Yerdon of Brockville, Ontario. His foster parents changed his name from Robert Harold to Harold Robert Joseph, his peacetime job is listed as a Metal Founder.

Harold Yerdon with bride Mildred Cotter

 On 7th October 1944,just eighteen day’s before  Harold was to lose his life, he married Mildred Cotter, a clerk at the Admiralty Stores, who was eighteen. Mildred lived at 141 Haywood Road, Accrington, Lancashire and the witnesses were Phyllis Woods, her cousin and Flight Sergeant  James Elliot Schwerdfager, the Bomb Aimer in the crew.

Harold and Mildred with some of the crew.

 Flight Sergeant Yerdon rests in the town cemetery of his wife’s home town of Accrington, he is also remembered on the Roll of Honour for Brockville Collegiate Institute & Vocational School, Ontario. The other five Canadian crew members rest in Brookwood Military Cemetery, Sergeant Smith (RAFVR) is buried in Newport Cemetery.


Wireless Operator Sgt Harvey Irwin RCAF is remembered on the Veterans Affairs of Canada, under Eastview Secondary School in a special tribute written by his great-nephew-Jordan Mosley.

  Photos courtesy of Jo and Alan Thomas, research by Linda Ibrom.