Fighter ace Edgar ‘Cobber’ Kain killed

7 June 1940

Edgar 'Cobber' Kain, c. 1939 (Alexander Turnbull Library, PAColl-5547-011)

Known to others as ‘Killer Kain’, the Hastings-born pilot’s exploits flying Hurricanes for the RAF’s No. 73 Squadron in the first year of the Second World War made him a household name in Britain. He was the first RAF air ace of the war, and the first to receive the Distinguished Flying Cross. During the Battle of France in May/June 1940, he made 17 confirmed ‘kills’.

Given his experiences in battle, how Kain died was cruelly ironic. He had been rested from operations and decided to mark his departure with an aerobatic display over the aerodrome at Échemines, France, on 7 June. He completed two low-level rolls and was attempting a third when he crashed onto the airfield and was thrown from the aircraft. He was 21 years old.

Kain was buried in Troyes cemetery. After the war his remains were moved to the Allied section of the Choloy war cemetery.

Community contributions

3 comments have been posted about Fighter ace Edgar ‘Cobber’ Kain killed

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Tina Southerwood

Posted: 10 Dec 2017

Amazing he did that, cobber kain is my great uncle. Tina Southerwood, new-zealand

thomas scott

Posted: 19 Nov 2012

Cobber also posted a package containing, a RAF handerchief and a tin of RAF chocolate to my late mother in South Africa which we still have

thomas scott

Posted: 19 Nov 2012

My late mother, “Rosalind Florence Bell” was a pen Pell of Cobber Kain during WW2. My family have letters from Cobber to my late mother, and also the letter from Cobber’s mother to my late mother informing her of his death.