Story: Second World War

'Cobber' Kain and other airmen, 1940

'Cobber' Kain and other airmen, 1940

Edgar James 'Cobber' Kain (third from right) chats with other pilots after a mission over enemy lines in 1940, probably in France. Kain was a New Zealand airman who became a public hero in the first months of the war. He had left New Zealand in 1936 aged 18, determined to join Britain's Royal Air Force (RAF) as a pilot. When war broke out he was flying with the 73rd Squadron. By March 1940 Kain had shot down five enemy aircraft, thus becoming the first 'ace' of the war. When Germany's offensive began in May 1940 Kain was in the thick of action and eventually claimed to have downed 17 enemy aircraft. However, he was killed in an aerobatic display celebrating a forthcoming period of leave.

Using this item

Imperial War Museum, Air Ministry Second World War Official Collection
Reference: C 1548

© IWM

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How to cite this page:

Ian McGibbon, 'Second World War - Defeat in France, 1940', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/34556/cobber-kain-and-other-airmen-1940 (accessed 18 June 2021)

Story by Ian McGibbon, published 20 Jun 2012, updated 10 May 2016