Harold Kirby

Harold Kirby: tribute web site


Hi and welcome to this site;

I met Robin Kirby, son of Harold Kirby on the internet. Robin was so kind to scan and forward to me his father's war photographs and other documentation. We decided to create this web site in remembrance of the WW2 experiences of Harold Kirby.

Harold Edward Kirby joined the SA Military College in 1939. As a Cadet he obtained his wings in 1942 and did an instructors course.

After a long period as pilot instructor , he was posted to SAAF No. 7 squadron, early 1942. The squadron was equipped with Hurricane fighters and took part in the Alamein battles of 1942. During this time Harold was shot down and wounded while the squadron suffered severe losses to the superior Messerschmitt Bf-109 aircraft.

In 1943 Harold participated in the attacks on Crete (Operation Thesis) when his aircraft hit power wires but returned safely.

Harold led the No. 7 squadron SAAF detachment during the brief and disastrous occupation of the island of Cos in September 1943. Flying Spitfires he shot down a Messerschmitt Bf-109 but escaped captivity when the Allied forces were evacuated from Cos.

For the latter part of the war the squadron did operations in Italy with bomber cover- and dive bombing missions.

After the war Harold had a successful career in the SAAF ending with the rank of Brigadier.


This is a living web site. Any input and/or participation will be much appreciated regarding additional information, correctness, information from relatives of members who served with Harold in his squadron, photographs, stories etc. Please e-mail me. Most welcome will be any photographs of No. 7 squadrons while Harold was with them.

If you perhaps have a family member who served as a SAAF fighter pilot during ww2 and you would want to find out more about his war service please contact me, hopefully I can be of some help.

Tinus le Roux

May 2012


 WW2 Military Career

01/10/1939     Cadet, Military College, Roberts Heights

25/04/1940     Obtain wings, Pretoria

05/05/1940     Instructors course, CFS, Kimberley

24/08/1940     Qualified as an instructor "C"class

26/08/1940     Flying Instruction Vereeniging, Bloemfontein and Kimberley

01/12/1941     Upgraded to Instructor "B" class

14/01/1942     SAAF No. 7 Squadron

17/05/1942     Squadron operates in North Africa

03/09/1942     Shot down by E/A, wounded, crash landed

09/09/1942     OC of "A" flight No. 7 sqdn

15/10/1942    Crash land upon engine failure

23/07/1943     Participate in ops "Thesis", strafing of targets in Crete, hit power lines but returned safely to base.

14/09/1943     Landing at Cos island in operation "Accolade"

18/09/1943     Shot down a Messerschmitt Bf-109

23/09/1943     RTU from Cos with a lift on a RAF Beaufighter

07/01/1944     CFS

09/02/1944     25  AS Standerton



CLICK HERE TO VIEW HAROLD'S WAR PHOTOGRAPHS 

CLICK HERE TO VIEW HAROLD'S FLYING LOG BOOK

 

 

 Robin Kirby at the Messerschmitt Bf-109 F that his dad flew back in 1942. Only 3 SAAF pilots flew this captured plane before it was grounded and crated for the trip to South Africa. They were Barry Wigget, Jannie Blaauw and Harold Kirby. Picture taken in June 2012, SA National Museum of Military History , Johannesburg.


 The same Me Bf-109 flown by Harold in 1942.


 

 Hurricane IId flown by Harold Thanks to Brent Best for the graphics.

 

Harold in the back row second from the right. 

 


NORTH AFRICA 1942-1943 


 

 

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