Stalag III-A

Sergeant Kenneth Yearsley 1485103

Wellington NF153 took off at 2030 hours on the night of 3/4th August 1944 to carry out an armed recce in the Aegean Sea. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it failed to return to base.
At 0047 hours on 4th August aircraft H of the Squadron saw from the north end of Keos Island in the Aegean sea light ack-ack fire. Immediately after he saw a ball of light in the sky height about 600 feet and falling. The light apparently spread on reaching the water approx quarter of a mile off shore. The pilot turned to make closer investigation and wen within 2 miles of the fire it went out having lasted about 1.5 minutes. While it was not definitely established that the above was an aircraft, it was considered that NF153 could have been in the locality of Keos Island at the time and that it was a possible explanation of the failure of the aircraft to return.

Crew:
RAF PO Hughes E T Captain (Pilot)
RAF WO B J Corkery, (2nd Pilot)
RAAF 421226 WO K E Kerridge, (Navigator Bomb Aimer) RAAF 421022 PO Keen, S (Wireless Operator Air)
RAAF 421225 WO H S Jordan, (Wireless Operator Air) RAF Sgt K Yearsley, (Wireless Operator Air)

A French conscript in the German Army later stated to investigators that the aircraft crashed on an island in the Aegean Sea. It was shot down by a German boat on Keos island near Greece. He found the remains of PO Hughes, WO Corkery and WO Kerridge on the island 8 days after the crash and buried them on the island. Sgt Kenneth Yearsley was the sole survivor of the crash. All the five crew who lost their lives are buried in the Phaleron War Cemetery, Athens, Greece.

Sergeant Yearsley was taken to Stalag Luft 7 near Bankau (now Bakow), 6 km from Kreuzburg (now Kluczbork) in Silesia Germany (Poland). On January 19 1945, 1,500 prisoners were evacuated and force marched to Stalag III-A, located 31km south of Berlin near Luckenwalde. The march took 21 days through bitter cold, ice and snow and many POWs perished in atrocious conditions.