Flight Lieutenant John William YARRA DFM

Service No: 402823
Born: Stanthorpe QLD, 24 August 1921
Enlisted in the RAAF: 14 October 1940 (at Sydney NSW)
Unit: No. 453 Squadron, RAF Station Southend, Essex
Awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal (DFM), 16 June 1942
Died: Air Operations: Fighter Command in 1942 (No. 453 Squadron Spitfire aircraft EN824), off the Dutch Coast, 10 December 1942, Aged 21 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Alfred Ernest and Harriet Yarra, of Grafton, New South Wales, Australia
Roll of Honour: Grafton NSW
Remembered: Panel 108, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 105, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Flight Lieutenant J. W. Yarra Memorial, Grafton Public School NSW
Remembered: Avenue of Trees Memorial, Grafton NSW

Brother of Pilot Officer Robert Ernest Yarra (413707)

DFM Citation (for service with No. 185 Squadron RAF): “this Pilot has shot down four enemy aircraft in air battles. On 18 May 1942, when protecting a rescue launch, he shot down one Messerschmitt, and probably destroyed another. When his ammunition was exhausted, he made feint attacks and kept the enemy at bay for three quarters of an hour.” (London Gazette 16 June 1942, Air2/8467)

On 10 December 1942, Spitfire EN824 flown by Flight Lieutenant Yarra and Spitfire BL988 flown by Flying Officer Matthew Henry Ivor De Cosier (405575) were in one of three sections detailed to carry out a shipping reconnaissance in the Blankenberg-Flushing area, Netherlands. At about 1045 hours four enemy merchant ships protected by a flak ship were sighted 10 miles north-west of Flushing. The ships were attacked with good results. EN824 was hit by anti-aircraft and Flight Lieutenant Yarra climbed the aircraft to 1000 feet and baled out but hit and became caught in the tail plane. He was then seen to fall into the sea with the chute streaming above him unopened. BL988 was also hit by anti-aircraft fire and Pilot Officer De Cosier attempted to gain height at a very low speed, stalled and the aircraft dived into the sea. Neither body was recovered.


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/65/21
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line

Book Now Book Now