- David Ernest Hornell
David Ernest Hornell
F/L David Ernest Hornell
Born January 26, 1910
Died June 24, 1944 (aged 34)
Allegiance Canada, UK Service/branch Royal Canadian Air Force Rank Flight Lieutenant Unit No. 162 Squadron RCAF Awards Victoria Cross
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.
Flight Lieutenant Hornell was flying as aircraft captain on Consolidated Canso 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 amphibian aircraft was attacked and badly damaged by an enemy German U-boat; nevertheless he succeeded in sinking the U-boat 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.
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. 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 Canadian Warplanes - PBY-5A).
A squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets is named after him, 700 David Hornell V.C. Squadron, and it is located in the west end of Toronto, Ontario. There is also a ferry to the Toronto Island Airport named after Hornell.
Air Command Heritage Museum, Winnipeg, Manitoba.
- ^ The Mimico Story, Harvey Currell, 1967, Pg 90
- ^ David Hornell Junior School website
- ^ 700 David Hornell V.C. Squadron website
- Location of grave and VC medal (Shetland, Scotland)
- HORNELL, David Ernest
- Consolidated PBY-5A Canso (plane Hornell flew at the Warplane Heritage Museum)
- Canadian World War II pilots
- Royal Canadian Air Force officers
- Canadian World War II recipients of the Victoria Cross
- 1910 births
- 1944 deaths
- Canadian military personnel killed in World War II
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.