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The Airmen's Stories - F/O M R Hill


Michael Rowland Hill, of South Africa, was born on 28th April 1918 at the Modder Deep gold mine in the Transvaal, South Africa.

He was educated at St. Johns College, Johannesburg 1932-35 and then the University of Cape Town before arriving in England (Southampton) on 6th October 1939 aboard the RMMV Capetown Castle, giving his details as 'RAF Student, Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge'.

He studied for the Mechanical Sciences Tripos and was awarded a second class pass in the preliminary examination in Easter term 1938. He sat the examination again in Easter term 1939 and was awarded a third class pass. He was at Cambridge for eight terms only from Michaelmas 1937 to Lent 1940 and did not graduate.

Hill was a member of the University Air Squadron and was commissioned in the RAFVR in October 1938.

Called up on 1st September 1939, Hill completed his elementary flying training at 5 EFTS Hanworth. He moved on to 5 FTS Sealand for No. 49 Course, which ran from 16th June to 7th September 1940 and arrived at 7 OTU Hawarden in early September 1940 to convert to Spitfires.

On the 21st his Spitfire I R6917 crashed on takeoff but Hill escaped unhurt and was able to join 266 Squadron at Wittering on the 28th.

His subsequent service is currently undocumented though it is known that he served as an instructor in Southern Rhodesia. By late 1944 he was serving with 19 Squadron as a Squadron Leader.

He was killed on 12th March 1945. 19 Squadron were escorting 44 Mosquitos of the Banff Strike Wing on a shipping sweep in the Skagerrak area. They were passing Lista to the south when they were bounced by a least 12 Me109s. Hill's Mustang III KH444 was seen to go into the sea.

He is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, panel 265.



Above image courtesy of Dean Sumner


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