Hiyo Silver

I wondered who Hiyo was…

This is Flying Officer Marvin “Hiyo” Silver…



By extraordinary coincidence Marvin flew TB 752 with both No 66 Squadron (RAF) and No 403 Squadron (RCAF). The chances of a pilot flying the same aircraft with two different Squadrons must be enormous but to add that one was Royal Air Force and the other Royal Canadian Air Force must qualify for the “Guinness Book of Records”! In fact Marvin did not realise he had flown TB 752 with 403 Squadron until he visited Manston in 1982.

Marvin was born in Montreal, Canada, on 11th June 1923. He went to West Hill High School, Montreal but did not complete high school. Marvin enlisted in the RCAF in October 1941 as an Air Gunner: this was the only aircrew position he could enlist for not having completed high school education. After enlistment he was sent to Toronto, Manning Depot where Marvin had the opportunity to qualify to become a pilot. After 6 months at Manning Depot he was sent to No 5 I.T.S. at Belleville, Ontario.

From there Marvin was sent to No 13 E.F.T.S. at St Eugene, Ontario. At St Eugene he trained on Fleet Finch aircraft and also requested to go to fighter training. He was then moved to SFTS, St Hubert, Quebec and undertook further training on Harvards and was successful in obtaining his wings.

By January 1943 Marvin was in England and after spending some time at Bournemouth progressed to AFU, OTU, and TEU. After flying everything from Tiger Moths, Masters, Hurricanes and Spitfires he was sent to No 1695 Bomber Defence Training Flight at Dalton, Yorkshire where he mainly flew Hurricanes. After working with all the Bomber Squadrons in Yorkshire for four months Marvin was really “fed up” so he paid a visit to Fighter Command HQ in London.

He was then sent to No 84 GSM at Thruxton where he undertook a little flying on Mk IX Spitfires. After no more than 2 weeks at Thruxton Marvin joined No 66 Squadron (RAF) at Grimbergen outside Brussels. He found the experience exciting – and it wasn’t all flying by all accounts! Marvin flew Spits during the day and spent the nights in Brussels, the best of two worlds! He admits that his first operational flight with a Spitfire IX loaded with 1,000 pounds of bombs was a bit nerve racking especially when the flak started flying.

Marvin spent from 3rd November 1944 until the end of April 1945 with No 66 Squadron undertaking mostly rail bombing and escort flying. No 66 Squadron changed to Spitfire Mk XVIs at the beginning of January 1945 and it was in March that Marvin flew TB 752 with the Squadron. On the 18th December 1944 his squadron tangled with Me 109s over Cologne (their first encounter) and he bagged one of them.

He joined 403 Squadron (RCAF) during the final weeks of the war little realising that he would be flying TB 752 again with a different squadron.

At the end of the war Marvin went into the shoe business with his family and now operates two high grade ladies shoe stores in Montreal.

Marvin has been to Manston to view his old Spitfire and says that it is in better condition now than when he flew her!

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