Daughter of WWII Pilot Researches His Crash

The daughter of a WWII pilot has done some research into the site at which her father crashed during the war, and has subsequently decided to pay a visit to the location. The woman in question is a former educator by the name of Elizabeth Yardley. Her father, a now-deceased WWII pilot named Alick Yardley, was only in his early twenties at the time of his crash. Although he survived the ordeal, it was a matter in which Elizabeth had a great deal of interest.

Alick Yardley was manning the helm of an Allied bomber before his crash. Shot from the skies en route to a mission in Berlin, he was able to save everyone on board before the plane went down. He essentially managed to evade death three times that day. Not only did he escape the plane before it crashed due to his skills as a WWII pilot, but he also survived the subsequent explosion and the malfunction of his parachute. While he was able to escape death, he could not escape capture. Caught in the branches of a tree upon landing, he was unable to move when his crew was surrounded and taken prisoner by enemy forces.

Yardley survived the prison camp until the end of the war, not to mention forty-five years after. Following his death in 1990, his daughter set out to learn more about his astounding near-death experiences. Given her father’s heroic status as a WWII pilot, information was not too hard to come by. She commenced communications with the grandson of another man who was on the plane at the time of the crash, and together they found witnesses. They also found the location of the crash site, and decided to pay a visit together, the Coventry Telegraph reports.

The forest in which Yardley crashed was located near a city called Recklinghausen. In and around the crater left by the crash was a host of refuse from the plane. Elizabeth found what may have been a piece of the helmet Yardley wore in his duties as a WWII pilot, an experience which nearly brought her to tears.She was able to honor the man who survived a plane crash simply to become imprisoned, the whole time awaiting his release so he could marry Elizabeth’s mother.

Like any WWII pilot, Alick Yardley faced death the moment he sat down in the cockpit. On the day of his crash, there were numerous chances for him to die. He could have escaped from the plane too late, died in an explosion, or fallen to his death. He could also have been killed by enemy soldiers. Luckily, none of those things happened. He survived to give birth to a daughter, who would later go on to tell the story of her WWII pilot father and his tale of survival.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE