The Airmen's Stories - P/O D G Cobden
Donald Gordon Cobden was born in Christchurch on August 11th 1914 and educated at Christchurch Boys' High School from 1927 to 1931. He was a fine rugby player and played for the All Blacks against the Springboks in August 1937.
Cobden went to England in late 1937 and early in 1938 he was playing for the Catford Bridge Club. He joined the RAF on a short service commission at the end of August 1938. After two weeks at Uxbridge he was posted to 5 FTS, Sealand on 28th January 1939.
Cobden joined 3 Squadron on 2nd September 1939, moved to 615 Squadron at Croydon on the 8th and on 6th October he was posted to 74 Squadron at Hornchurch. The squadron began patrols over France and Belgium on 10th May 1940. On the 24th Cobden shared a Do17, on the 26th shared a probable Hs126 and on the 27th a probable Do17.
Officially the first day of the Battle of Britain, 10th July saw 74 Squadron sent to protect a convoy in the Dover area. In the engagement which followed Cobden got a probable Me109 and damaged a Do17.
On 11th August 74 took off to patrol convoy 'Booty', twelve miles east of Clacton. In the combat between the Spitfires and forty Me110’s Cobden was shot down and killed.
It was his twenty-sixth birthday.
His body was recovered by the Germans and he is buried in Ostende Communal Cemetery, Belgium.