Image by cstm-mstc
Harry Yates was my grandfather and had been a flying ace in the Royal Air Force during the first World War. He trained pilots overseas on the long-distance bombers, Handley Pages, of which he and perhaps 2 or 3 other British Aviators had put in the most flying time on these machines. He had also flown 30 other types of various aircraft. And so with only 2 hours notice, he and another lieutenant were assigned to fly on a secret mission from London, England, to Cairo, Egypt, where they picked up Sir Lawrence of Arabia en route, a total distance of 3100 miles and they had to attempt to land the plane in the dark after getting an average of 2 1/5 hours of sleep each night. They set a record time of 5 days (really 1.5 days of traveling time given petrol problems etc.) which beat the previous record of 15 days. They were presented with the Air Force Cross for their feat. Harry Yates was also given the assignment of flying members of the British Cabinet, including Sir Winston Churchill, between London and Paris during the Peace conference.
After the war, Harry Yates became a Chiropractor and to help recognize the occupation as official, he was instrumental in the founding of the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in Toronto, serving as their first chairman of the board of directors of the Chiropractic Province of Ontario.
Another portrait of Harry Yates had been donated to the memorial Chiropractic College upon his death, having been painted by Ernest Fosbery, a famous Ottawa artist who also did portraits of other distinguished Canadians and politicians. After Harry had performed chiropractic services on the artist’s hands, Fosbery painted a life-sized portrait of him as a thank you for his healings. Fosbery’s portraits and paintings hang in the National Gallery, Government House, Ottawa, the Supreme Court of Canada, the Canadian Senate, the Canadian War Memorial Collection and the Dominion Archives.
Harry’s father, George W. Yates was chief private secretary to the Canadian Prime Minister, Sir Robert Borden, as well as having been a journalist for the London Free Press and Globe and Mail.
Although I don’t personally remember my grandfather, having died when I was in grade 2, my parents (my mother being Harry’s daughter) wrote a book about his memoirs, including letters he wrote during the war and it includes newspaper clippings about his achievements and his acquaintances. They also wrote other family tree books and have submitted photos to the National Archives for historic purposes. In the year 2000, a story about Harry Yates and his Cairo journey, complete with photos, appeared in The Beaver, a Canadian Historical magazine. It had been proposed to make a movie about this colorful Canadian, Harry Yates. I only wish I knew more about the photo taken by Karsh, so as to complete this story. One can’t help but notice that Karsh captured Harry’s hands in the photo – and so it wouldn’t surprise me in keeping with Karsh’s traits, that he was trying to capture one of Harry’s prized possessions when it come to performing his chiropractor services…his hands!
(Unfortunately, I only have a photocopy of the portrait as it appears in Harry’s memoirs written by my parents. My sister has attempted to find the original photo, and so once a better rendition of the photo is found, it will be forwarded to you promptly.)
Submitted by Heather (Eagles) Bagg, Cambridge, Ontario
<a href="http://www.festivalkarsh.ca" rel="nofollow">Festival Karsh</a>
<a href="http://www.sciencetech.technomuses.ca" rel="nofollow">Canada Science and Technology Museum / Musée des sciences et de la technologie du Canada</a>