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Flying Officer Robert Charles Yeates - Pilot

Flying Officer Yeates (Serial # 90322) was from Toronto, Ontario and was killed 8 March 1952 at age 29.  He was the son of Charles and Christina Yeates of Toronto, Ontario. Husband of Mable Yeates. Father of Michael Barry Yeates of Toronto, Ontario, and brother of George, James and Yvonne Yeates.

He is commemorated on Page 29 of the 'In the Service of Canada' Book of Remembranc
e.  CLICK HERE TO VIEW PAGE

F/O Yeates was killed when his Vampire aircraft was in a mid-air collision with a Vampire flown by W/C Fleming near Aurora, ON.
/O Yeates was a member of the RCAF during the Second World War  and received the following citations: Canadian Volunteer Service Medal, War Medal 1939-1945, Burma Star, 1939-1945 Star, Defence Medal

Induction into the military Hall of Valour on May 24, 2009

Flying Officer Robert Charles Yeates

Robert Charles (Bob) Yeates served as a pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) during World War II and again in the early 1950s until his death in March 1952, in an air accident.  

Between 1941 and 1952, Bob was based in 18 different military locations in Canada, England, India and West Africa.  He served in many training assignments, three squadrons on active duty and one reserve squadron.  Moved up in rank from LAC to Flight Lieutenant during the war and back to Flying Officer afterwards, he flew thirteen different types of aircraft ranging from Finch trainers to Vampire jets.  Bob compiled over 700 hours of flying time during his service, 148 of which were operational.  These included 17 rescue sorties off England before being deployed to India for a tour where he flew 57 combat missions against Japanese forces occupying Burma. 

Born in Toronto on June 22, 1922, Bob attended General Mercer School and Oakwood Collegiate. In athletics, he played baseball, football, hockey, swam and raced bicycles. He was also a Troop Leader and Assistant Cub Master in the local Boy Scouts Association, remaining active well into his late teens. Bob had part-time sales jobs while a student, and after graduation worked for a period at the DeHavilland Company in aircraft assembly to enhance his chances to join the Air Force and become a pilot. 

On May 1, 1941, Bob joined the RCAF and married Mabel Spooner, his high school sweetheart, on January 19, 1942, before going overseas to England.  Stationed there from February until October, he then was sent to India where he served with Squadron 110 (H) at four different bases between January 1943, and August 1944.  Much of his time in India was spent flying Vultee Vengeance dive bombers, usually accompanied by Noah “Knocker” Lewis as his gunner, against Japanese positions in Burma.  After that assignment, he flew across the Sub-Continent, through the Middle East, across Africa, and was based at Takoradi in West Africa from September to November 1944.  Although never wounded, he had many bouts with jaundice, malaria and dysentery as did many who served in Asia. He returned to Canada in February 1945, and was “struck off strength” on May 1st “on completion of his term of voluntary service during an emergency.”

Bob began working in advertising after the war, became an Account Executive with Grant Advertising, started a family with Mabel, and bought a home in North Toronto.  He enjoyed time spent with his wife and son, Barry, had many friends and achieved success in business, but was always keen to fly again. 

In January 1951, he began training on Chipmunks in the Toronto Flying Club’s RCAF (Reserve) Refresher Course, and on April 12th joined 400 (F) Auxiliary Squadron stationed at Downsview Air Force Base.  During the next eleven months he flew over 75 hours in Harvards and just under 20 hours in Vampire fighters.  He also was elected Entertainment Officer for the Squadron and organized dances, parties for children and holiday events. 

Bob was killed during formation practice on March 8, 1952, when his jet and another collided over Aurora, Ontario, and his parachute failed to open after he bailed out of the aircraft.  He was 29 years old, and had been back in the service for less than a year.                                                                                                       

Flying Officer Yeats' father was also inducted into the Military Hall of Valour on the same day as his son.

Induction into the military Hall of Valour on May 24, 2009

                    Sergeant Charles Morrison Yeates, D.C.M.

Charles Morrison Yeates, known best as “Charlie”, enjoyed a lifelong and distinguished public service career, serving before and after World War I with the Toronto Fire Department, and during the war in Canada, Britain and France with the Canadian Over-seas Expeditionary Force (CEF). 

Charlie was born in Toronto on May 16, 1889, and became a fireman after leaving school. He worked with the Fire Department, and concurrently for three years with 48th Highlanders in the Canadian Militia, until he enlisted in the 169th Battalion of the CEF on February 6, 1916, at almost 27 years of age. 

Arriving in England in late October of 1916 aboard the S.S. Metagama, he was based in Bramshott until transferring to the 116th Battalion and subsequently leaving for France on February 11, 1917. During that year he advanced through the ranks from Lance Corporal, to Corporal, Acting Sergeant and Sergeant. 

Charlie suffered from influenza, dermatitis and various minor shell wounds in 1917 and early 1918, and occasionally spent brief periods convalescing in England, but he was reassigned to France in mid-September of 1918 in time for the assault on Cambrai. It was during this battle that he was awarded the D.C.M.  The citation reads: 

“For fine courage and leadership when in charge of a platoon on the morning of 29th September, 1918, in the attack on the village St. Olle. His platoon was badly cut up by machine-gun fire and temporarily held up. He organized a bombing party, crawled forward to within bombing distance, and bombed the enemy nest, rushing in, killing three of the enemy, taking three prisoners and capturing the gun.” 

Charlie was wounded again in this action, but military medical records state that “the bullet was never removed” and that he “complained of nothing.” It remained lodged in his chest for the rest of his life. He was invalided back to Canada on the ship Araguaya late in December, 1918, arrived in Halifax on January 10, 1919, and discharged honourably on February 14, 1919. The Howland Avenue Fire Hall in Toronto was where he returned to work after demobilization, and where he was photographed receiving a hero’s welcome as he was carried around on the shoulders of his colleagues. 

Charlie married Christina Giveen in 1920 and they had a large family: Jim, Bob, Eileen, George, Buddy and Yvonne. He was an active member of the Royal Canadian Legion, led ceremonial parades for veterans, and held a yearly reunion at his home with three  soldiers from his unit in the army. He also took up gardening, often cooked holiday meals for the family, and loved to entertain and look out for all the children in his neighbourhood. 

Charlie remained with the Toronto Fire Department until retiring with the rank of Captain. Following a fulfilled life that was interrupted occasionally in his later years by complications arising from war wounds, Charlie died on February 13, 1972, at Sunnybrook Hospital at 83 years of age. 


F/O Yeates is buried at the Prospect Cemetery in Toronto, Ontario














Guest Book for F/O R.C. Yeates

Messages Received for F/O R.C. Yeates


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Bill Bishop,
20 Jul 2011, 01:43
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