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The Airmen's Stories - AC2 W Yates


William Yates was born on 27th October 1908 in Howden, East Riding of Yorkshire. His father was a boot and shoe maker.

He became a talented amateur boxer, winning his first official bout on 7th May 1927 at the Plant Inn, Mexborough in Yorkshire.



He was still competing regularly until 5th July 1934, when he was employed in redecorating the Manor Cinema in Sheffield.

He fell 50 feet and was taken to hospital.



He is not recorded as returning to boxing.

Yates volunteered for the RAFVR in December 1939 and was called up in 1940.

He volunteered for aircrew duties and was sent to 2 Electrical and Wireless School at Yatesbury for a short radar course, after which he joined 604 Squadron on 2nd August 1940. He flew his first sortie, in a Blenheim, on 8th August with F/Lt. P Ruston.

After being on operations throughout the Battle of Britain and subsequently, Yates was promoted to Sergeant in early 1941. He later went home on leave and when he woke there on the first morning he was paralysed, with his arms locked behind his head. He was examined by four doctors and then sent back to Middle Wallop, from where, after further stringent tests, he was invalided out of the RAF with psycho-neurosis.

Yates was told that he should never have been in the RAF, taking into account the broken back, seven broken ribs, broken thigh and broken ankle that he had sustained in an accident in 1934.

He died in May 1990.

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