South Shields Local History Group

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Yeoman, Harold (RAF)

Harold Yeoman was born at 13 Westoe Avenue, South Shields on June 22, 1921.  He went to Mowbray Road Infants School then won a scholarship to the South Shields Boys High School.

He joined the RAF in 1940 and started his pilot training aged just 19 at RAF Sywell flying Tiger Moths (biplanes) for £5 and 4 shillings a fortnight.

Harold Yeoman (Shields Gazette)

He and his crew were instrumental in bombing the Renault factory in Paris, which was producing armoured vehicles for the German army.
The former flight lieutenant, who spent most of his RAF career stationed at RAF Binbrook in Lincolnshire, said: “This was a specialist raid. Normally, we would be 18,000ft to 20,000ft when we bombed. This time we were told to go in as low as possible. We were in about 3,000ft to 4,000ft.

“We had to be very careful and had no room for error. If we made one mistake we would be on the ground.

“It upset me when you’d get back and you’d see empty chairs following the raids. You knew who hadn’t made it back.”

Harold Yeoman and bomber crew (Shields Gazette)

Tragically, Mr Yeoman’s crew were killed on a bombing mission he had been forced to miss after being grounded because of a medical condition.

In 1943 he met his future wife Joan who was a Sergeant in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF), they married in 1946.

After the war Harold returned to his job at the weights and measures at South Shields Corporation, he retired in 1986.  He lived with his wife Joan in Woods Terrace Westoe. She died in 1985 and Harold died in January 2019, aged 97.


Shields Gazette
Bomber Command

Interview with Harold Yeoman · IBCC Digital Archive (

Trading Standards magazine

Obituary: Harold Yeoman – Journal Of Trading Standards

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