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The weird and mysterious death of Howard Hill

Discussion in 'Air War in Western Europe 1939 - 1945' started by harolds, Nov 19, 2018.

  1. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Howard Hill was a Battle of Britain RAF pilot from New Zealand in 92 squadron at Biggin Hill. He was killed on Sept. 20, 1940 in a battle with ME 109s, most probably by Werner Molders somewhere over the Channel. Squadron mates saw his a/c drop out of the fight and steer a direct descending course for his base. Radio inquiries were not answered. Later, the tower at Biggin Hill saw him and tried to contact him but they received no answer either. The plane disappeared to the west and was not seen again until a month later when an Anson trainer called to report seeing a plane in a patch of woods. Personnel sent out found that the aircraft had landed in the tops of the trees 40 ft. above the ground with Hill still in it. The Spitfire had been hit once in the cockpit and the round blew the top of his head off-a wound that would have killed him instantly. The a/c itself was in surprisingly good condition.

    Now, you tell me how this could happen. Larry Forrister in his bio of Bob Tuck says the Spit brought him home but that's clearly impossible. Having a pilot's license myself I know that a pilotless aircraft doesn't stay in a straight line for long, much less plot its own course back to base. I have my own theory but I'd like to read your ideas first.
     
  2. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    There was a railroad employee here in the US that had a charge go off prematurely and it blew a tamping rod through his head from the bottom of his jaw up exiting the top of his skull. He survived quite a few years after what would normally be considered a fatal wound. Perhaps Howard Hill lived a bit longer than they thought he did. See:
    Phineas Gage - Wikipedia
     
  3. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    I highly doubt that Biggin Hill Tower ever saw him, but it makes for a good myth. You see, the Spitfire wreck was found just north of Folkestone, Kent...Biggin Hill is over 50 miles away to the northwest.
    [​IMG]

    Also, given that the combat occurred around Dungeness, and the Spit was supposedly on a "course" back to Biggin Hill...How come he crashed north of Folkestone, which is rather "off course" to Biggin Hill.

    The myth does not seem to fit the facts.
     
  4. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    USMCPrice likes this.

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