The story behind the picture

Click on the image to zoom in.

This is part of an article Dean Black wrote back in 2002 on Airforce Magazine.

If you read the caption on the left side the name of Pilot Officer Gordon Hoben is mentioned.

This is the pilot I want to pay homage to by using Dean’s article. 

He gave me the green light.

The story is most revealing as it shows how all the airmen who flew during WWII felt the fear but had the courage to press on even in the face of certain death.

Lest We Forget

In memory of
Pilot Officer
who died on July 11, 1942 

Military Service:

Service Number: J/15077
Force: Air Force
Unit: Royal Canadian Air Force
Division: 403 Sqdn.

Additional Information:

Son of Elmo and Lucie Hoben, of Toronto, Ontario. Husband of Hilda Hoben, of Toronto

Post No. 150

This 150th post is most appropriate.

It’s about remembering what’s this blog is all about.

It’s about remembering.

It’s about remembering the fallen.

Remembering those who can’t tell their story and what they endure during WWII.

I wanted to tell this story after the KH-GAME, but I think the KH-GAME can wait a little.

Dean Black wrote me about the picture I posted with this article…

He is the one who sent it.

The filename was KH-D Ass_up_landing.

Well it’s not an ass-up landing as you will learn more next time.

More than just a game

The Kh-Game is more than just a game.

This is a translation of the text I put yesterday.

On Saturday November 13, 1943, during a Rhubarb mission over Cambrai and Saint Quentin.

In the course the strafing on the objective, F/O Rowe is separated from his leader because of fog. He drifts towards Oise where, it seems, he is hit after having strafed the airbase of Creil or Beauvais. His plane crashed around 17:00 at St-Felix close to Hondainville.
The plane crashed at la Bosse des Chênes near route D89

RCAF 403 Squadron based at Kenley (Friston) Great Britain
Plane Spitfire IX, serial MA573, code Squadron KH-G.

The pilot Lewis Cameron ROWE 21 ½ years-old, of the Royal Canadian Air Force is buried in the Cimetière Militaire Beauvais-Marissel, Tomb 225 (source)

In memory of
Pilot Officer
who died on November 13, 1943

Military Service:

Service Number: J/18907
Force: Air Force
Unit: Royal Canadian Air Force
Division: 403 Sqdn.


KH-G Spitfire on jacks

Could it be the same plane shot down in France?

Le samedi 13 novembre 1943 au cours d’une mission ”Rhubarb”chasse libre région de Cambrai et Saint Quentin.

En cours de mitraillage sur l’objectif, le F/O Rowe est séparé de son leader à cause du brouillard.Il dérive vers l’Oise où, semble-t-il, il est touché après avoir mitraillé la base de Creil ou celle de Beauvais. Son avion s’écrase vers 17h00 sur le territoire de St-Félix à la limite de celui d’Hondainville.

L’avion est tombé au lieu dit ”la Bosse des Chênes” jouxtant le D89

Escadrille Canadienne Squadron 403 Basé à Kenley (Friston) G.B
Avion Spitfire IX, serial MA573, code Squadron KH-G.

Le Pilote Lewis Cameron ROWE 21 ans 1/2, de la Royal Canadian Air Force repose au Cimetière Militaire Beauvais-Marissel, Tombe 225 (source)

I will translate this text next time.

In memory of
Pilot Officer
who died on November 13, 1943

Military Service:

Service Number: J/18907
Force: Air Force
Unit: Royal Canadian Air Force
Division: 403 Sqdn.

“Admiral” Byrd’s burial place

Hank Byrd was Admiral Byrd… This was how Wally called Hank Byrd.

Here is a picture of this pilot who disappeared after leaving formation.

Wally Dove collection

Someone had information on his burial place…

Hennie wrote back.

There is still an eyewitness alive of the crash, an 88 year-old man called Luycken,  landowner , told me that the “Spitfire” crashed in the “Wilhelminabos” at Landfort.

German soldiers were quick at the place.

The pilot was for a while buried at the border of that forest, he can remember a wooden cross with his flyercap on the top, later he is reburied at the Gendringen  Cemetery.


Comment from a reader…

Hank Byrd took off from Petit Brogel at 13.30h 19 march 1945
Target: Fighter Sweep in the Rheine-Osnabrick area.
12 a/c of 403 Squadron, 5 early returns.
Source: ORB 403 Squadron

Karl Lusink

Hank Byrd Service Number: J/89351

Hank Byrd’s name appeared in Walter Neil Dove’s logbook.

Hank Byrd disappeared after leaving formation…

This is what we have on Canadian Virtual War Memorial to pay homage to this Spitfire pilot.

In memory of 


who died on March 19, 1945

Military Service:

Service Number: J/89351
Force: Air Force
Unit: Royal Canadian Air Force
Division: 403 Sqdn.
Burial Information:




Grave Reference: Row B. Grave 22.


Gendringen is a village on the Dutch-German border 30 kilometres east-south-east of Arnhem and 15 kilometres south-east of Doetinchem. The GENDRINGEN ROMAN CATHOLIC CEMETERY is behind the church of St. Martinus, which stands in the centre of Gendringen. The British plot is near the eastern boundary wall.

I wrote an article on Hank Byrd.

Now we have more information from someone…

I’ve a photo of the wreck crashed in Landfort near Megchelen/Gendringen on 19 march 1945. (Harold Chauncey Byrd) nearby a small forest at the German/Dutch frontier.

A comment not to be lost…

Someone posted this comment…

My dad was the E.D. Kelly mentioned above. Always warms my heart to see my dad’s name on the net or in print. It may interest you to know that my dad was wounded by an aircraft cannon shell over Normandy flying on ops with 403 Sqn on D+3. Ever one to save his aircraft, he returned to the UK. People on his Sqn remarked that the cockpit was covered with blood. He returned to ops once he recovered.
I think his most prized possession were his small silver Op Tour ‘wings’ with bar.
In no way was he a typical ‘Fighter Jock’ and was instead a mild-mannered and rather shy man typical of old rural Ontario – one could hardly believe that he was one of the best jet age aerobatic pilots in the post-war RCAF.

Brilliant website.


Paul Kelly

It was about this…

And this citation…

Victories as follows: 17 August 1943: ¼ Bf.110 destroyed (with L. Foster, J.E. Johnson, J. Preston); 19 August 1943: one Bf.109 destroyed south of Flushing; 30 June 1944: one FW.190 destroyed, Falaise; 8 July 1944: shared in destruction of a midget submarine; 10 August 1944: one Bf.109 damaged; 24 December 1944: two FW.190s damaged; 1 January 1945: ½  FW.190 destroyed (shared with E.D. Kelly) plus one Bf.109 destroyed, Gutersloh.


We know very little about the person sitting. According to Dean Black he is identified as being Jim Day. He is not certain, but he appears to have been one of the technicians and he thinks he was the guy who would do a lot of the paintings on aircraft.