On this day in Yorkshire 1943

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D.F.C. to Northern Airman Who Paddled Dinghy for 6 Days

Set on fire when attacked by five Junkers 88s while on anti-submarine patrol over the Bay of Biscay, the aircraft which Flying Officer George Bertram Willerton (a native of Doncaster) was captain was forced down on the sea.

Although under water, he managed to crawl through a side window, swam to a floating dinghy and in a dazed condition pulled aboard two members of his crew, one of whom was severely wounded.

Without first-aid equipment, he dressed his companion’s wounds as well as he could and then paddled the dinghy for six days before being rescued.

For his “outstanding courage and fortitude” Flying Officer Willerton, whose home is in Lincolnshire, receives one of 23 D.F.Cs awarded to-day.

Another D.F.C. is Flying Officer Michael julius Wedgwood Benn.

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