Edgar James Kain (left) amongst the wreckage of a Dornier Do 17 aeroplane he shot down in France on the 8th of November, 1939, during World War 2. The man on the right is an unidentified French interpreter. Service Cinematographique de L'armee photograph taken 23 November, 1939, in Lubbe, five miles from Rouvres-en-Woevre, France. Photographer unidentified.
‘Cobber’ Kain was a New Zealander from Hastings, who shot down 20 German aerocraft over France at the beginning of the Second World War. He was the first RAF ace. He died on June 4, 1940, in an aerobatic accident.
The morning attack, made by about 100 Dornier Do 17s, escorted by over 300 fighters, took some time to assemble over the French coast and so gave Fighter Command plenty of warning.
On its way to London the hostile formation was engaged by five Spitfire squadrons and the Hurricanes of 229, 253, 303 and 501 Squadrons, but it was still intact as it neared the capital. At this point Bader’s 12 Group Wing attacked it from the flank, the two Spitfire squadrons engaging the 109s, the three Hurricane squadrons the Dorniers. Simultaneously four more Hurricane squadrons charged the bombers head-on.
The Hurricane squadrons in question might have been selected to typify Fighter Command:
242 Squadron as a mainly Canadian outfit represented what were then called the British Dominions; the Poles of 302 and the Czechs of 310 Squadrons represented the ‘Free’ Air Forces from the occupied countries; 17, 73 and 257 were regular Royal Air Force squadrons; 504, the County of Nottingham Squadron, symbolized the Auxiliary Air Force.
And between them they routed the bomber formation.