RAF hero Harold relives WW2 flying days for modern officers
A South Tyneside RAF war hero was given the chance to share his remarkable life story with two serving officers from the force.
Flight Sergeant John Collins and Flight Lieutenant Nigel Yarrow called in to visit Harold Yeoman, 96.
As a 19-year-old, Harold joined the RAF to play his part in the Second World War and took part in 14 operations in a Wellington Bomber.
This included a bombing raid on the Renault factory in Paris which was producing vehicles for the Germans - flying at around 3,000ft compared to the 18-20,000ft they would normally fly at on operations.
During wartime, he knew of a number of fellow flyers who never returned back to base - including his own crew who had been sent out on a night Harold had been ordered to stay at camp due to sickness.
Following his flight career, Harold moved into an intelligence role and spent time sitting on the trial of a German spy in Penang, Malaysia. Mr Yeoman has kept the transcripts from that time.
It’s his fascinating story and time during in the RAF which has intrigued the officers who were invited to Roseway House care home, in Jarrow, where Harold has been a resident since March 2017, to talk about his RAF days.
Harold spent much of his time stationed at RAF Binbrook, in Lincolnshire, which has since closed.
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This year marks the 100th anniversary of the RAF and the officers are keen for their cadets to meet Harold and to be able to listen to the experiences he had as a RAF officer during the war.
Flt Sgt Collins said: “He has quite an impressive story and some of the bases he visited during his time in the RAF we still visit now, and from his descriptions of what they were like back then, they haven’t changed.
“We are looking at arranging for Harold to come into see and speak to the RAF cadets, as it would be a real experience for them to be able to meet someone who actually lived the experience and from the area rather than hearing about it through a history teacher.”
Mr Yeoman, who served as a flight lieutenant with 12 Squadron, said: “It is has been nice for the officers to come in and visit me.
“We have been swapping stories and I’m looking forward to meeting the young cadets. It has brought back a lot of memories.”
Pauline Fraser, lifetime support at Roseway House said: “It has been lovely to have the officers come in to visit Harold and to look at organising a trip for Harold to visit the air cadets.
“It has been a really positive visit.”