thanks – it was a combination of all your suggestions. there was no .vimrc file, so i had to create one. and after some trial and error the command is:
:set t_dK=^ (NOT a literal ^, but rather Ctrl+Delete)
as for the yanking problem, it’s a matter of upping the buffer default in .vimrc:
:set viminfo='20,"50 (default, buffer maxes out at 50 lines)
:set viminfo='20,"100 (buffer maxes out at 100 lines)
thanks for your help!!