The Airmen's Stories - F/Lt. H B L Hillcoat
Harry Bryan Lillie Hillcoat, the son of an engineer, was born on 19th October 1913. He was awarded Aero certificate 11830 on 24th April 1934, his occupation recorded as Motor Trader.
Hillcoat joined 605 Squadron Auxiliary Air Force in early 1938. Called to full-time service on 24th August 1939, he completed his training and arrived at 11 Group Pool, St. Athan on 25th September.
After further training he was posted on 2nd October 1939 to 263 Squadron, then being formed at Filton. Hillcoat joined No.1 Squadron in France on 10th May 1940.
He claimed a He111 destroyed on 4th June but made a forced-landing with a bullet in his engine. The squadron was withdrawn to Tangmere on 18th June.
At the end of the month Hillcoat was appointed 'B' Flight Commander. On 18th August he shared in destroying a Do17, on 1st September he claimed a Me109 and on the 2nd probably destroyed another.
(Above: his portrait was made by Sir William Rothenstein)
Hillcoat failed to return from a squadron patrol on 3rd September 1940 in Hurricane P3044 and was reported 'Missing'.
He was 26 and is remembered on the Runnymede Memorial. Panel 4.
Above image courtesy of Dean Sumner