David Ernest Hornell bigraphy, stories - Recipient of the Victoria Cross

David Ernest Hornell : biography

January 26, 1910 - June 24, 1944

David Ernest Hornell, VC (26 January 1910 – 24 June 1944) was a Canadian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

Further information

Hornell was born in Mimico, Ontario where he attended Mimico High School obtaining the Fred Werden scholarship given in memory of the son of Mimico's Postmaster who was killed in the First World War.The Mimico Story, Harvey Currell, 1967, Pg 90 One of the elementary schools in Mimico is named after him.

He enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force in January 1941, and received his pilot's wings in September the same year. After further instruction in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, he was posted to the Royal Canadian Air Force station on North Vancouver Island. Flight Lieutenant Hornell completed 60 operational missions, involving some 600 hours flying.

The PBY Canso operated out of the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Hamilton, Ontario, was restored in the colours and markings of 162 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron and dedicated to the memory of Flight Lieutenant David Hornell, VC. (See ).

A squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets is named after him, , and it is located in the west end of Toronto, Ontario. There is a ferry to the Toronto Island Airport named after Hornell, as well as the Wing Operations building at CFB 14 Wing Greenwood, Nova Scotia, Canada.


Flight Lieutenant Hornell was flying as aircraft captain on Consolidated Cansohttp://www.cmp-cpm.forces.gc.ca/dhh-dhp/gal/vcg-gcv/bio/hornell-de-eng.asp amphibians with 162 (Bomber Reconnaissance Squadron), RCAF from RAF Wick in Northern Scotland, when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.

On 24 June 1944 on sea patrol near the Faroes in the North Atlantic, Flight Lieutenant Hornell's twin-engined Catalina amphibian aircraft was attacked and badly damaged by the German U-boat U-1225; nevertheless he succeeded in sinking the U-1225 and then with superhuman effort managed to bring his aircraft down on the heavy swell, the plane blazing furiously. There was only one serviceable dinghy which could not hold all the crew so they took it in turns in the water. By the time the survivors were rescued after 21 hours, Flight Lieutenant Hornell was blinded and weak from exposure and cold. He died shortly after being picked up.

He is buried in Lerwick Cemetery, Shetland Islands. His medal is on loan to the Air Command Headquarters in Winnipeg.

The medal

Air Command Heritage Museum, Winnipeg, Manitoba.

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