** NEW ** The miraculous 1940 Dunkirk harbour trawlerman's watery rescue D.S.M. group, consisting of: Distinguished Service Medal George VI to JX.195845 E.H. Yarborough, Smn., H.M.T. John Catlin. In John Piches, London fitted case; 1939-45 Star; Atlantic Star; WWII War Medal in box of issue addressed to 'Mr E.H. Yarborough, 4 Redbourne Road, Grimsby, Lincs.' and copy newspaper extracts detailing Yarborough's Dunkirk heroics.

D.S.M Gazetted 31 Dec 1940 - Grimsby Evening Telegraph 7 Mar 1941: "NEWSBOY NOW NAVAL HERO - King Decorates Grimsby Sailor. Swimming in the water off Dunkirk, a young Grimsby naval rating helped a number of struggling, half-drowned men into the waiting boats. He is 24 years old Ernest Yarborough of 136 Tiverton Street, Cleethorpes, and recently His Majesty the King decorated him with the Distinguished Service Medal at an investiture. Officially, the award was for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. The eldest surviving son of a family of 11, Able Seaman Yarborough had been a fisherman for four years when the war broke out (starting as a deck hand aged 16). He then joined the Royal Navy. He is married and has a small daughter. Formerly a "Telegraph" newsboy, Able Seaman Yarborough is well-known in the New Cleethorpes district, where, as a youth, he had a paper 'round'."

The H.M.T. John Cattling was skippered by George W. Aldan, D.S.C. & Bar. and towing the destroyer H.M.S. "Grenade" at the East Mole of Dunkirk Harbour when her magazines exploded. The "Calvi" and the "PollyJohnson" were also hit by dive-bombing Ju87s. The following extract is Deck Hand William Thorpe's account of the evacuation aboard the "Calvi":

"The destroyer Grenade, berthed ahead of us, was the first victim. In spite of all her guns she was soon severely hit and ablaze from stem to stern. A trawler managed to tow the blazing Grenade away from the jetty out into the harbour. One of the trawlers with Calvi, the PollyJohnson, after being hit by bombs which killed her gun crew, broke adrift and sank near the harbour entrance. And then, on the Calvi,  we began a fight for our lives. I was firing the port Lewis gun; the steward loading the pans for me, when we saw a bunch of bombs coming down very close to us. We ran to take shelter in the wheelhouse, but as I opened the door to go in, the blast from the exploding bombs blew me inside, down the skipper's hatch, and before blacking out I saw everything in the cabin thrown up on the deckhead. We staggered out and of the wheelhouse to find ourselves in the water on a level with the rail of the next ship; the trawler 'John Cattling'. A bomb had gone through the Calvi's counter-stern and exploded beneath her, and most of our crew had scattered. Our second engineer was in the water, and two men helped me to get him out. He was badly cut about and we stayed with him, giving him morphia tablets, till we got back to Dover in the John Cattling, which was well loaded-up with soldiers. On muster we found we had lost only three of our company, including Sub Lieut. Everett. We had about 40 troops aboard when we were hit, but what happened to them in the confusion we will never know."

The John Cattling evacuated 77 troops and her skipper was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. Ernest Harwood Yarborough had been the gunner aboard ship before he ended up heroically saving men in the water. He and one other crew member of the John Cattling were awarded the Distinguished Service Medal and 2 further were Mentioned In Despatches.


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