Howard Perry Hill was born on 17th April 1920 in Christchurch, New Zealand. He attended Marlborough College from 1932 to 1936 and then applied for an RAF short service commission in 1938. After being provisionally accepted he sailed for the UK on 16th December in the RMS Rangitata. On 24th January 1939 Hill went to 13 E&RFTS, White Waltham, to begin his elementary flying training. He moved to 13 FTS Drem on 17th April. On completion of the course Hill was posted to 8 Observers School, Evanton on 9th October. Two weeks later he joined the newly-reformed 92 Squadron at Tangmere, then equipped with Blenheims, but re-equipped with Spitfires in March 1940.
Hill saw lots of action in the Battle of Britain and was very successful. On 26th July Hill shared in the destruction of a Ju88; on 15th September he destroyed three He111s, probably destroyed a Me109 and shared a Do17 and another He 111; on the 18th destroyed a Ju88 and on the 19th a probable Me109.
However on 20th September 1940 when he was north of Dungeness, the squadron was attacked from above and behind by Me109s of JG51. Hill was in the rear section and one of the first to be attacked. He was shot down by Major Molders and killed when his Spitfire X4417 crashed at the rear of Black Swan Cottages at West Hougham, Kent.
There are persistent reports including those from his colleague, Tony Bartley in his autobiography, 'Smoke Trails in the sky', that Hill received a bullet through the top of his head killing him instantly but his aircraft continued to fly onwards until it landed in treetops undiscovered for a month.
Hill is buried in Folkestone Cemetery and his name appears on the reredos in St George's Chapel of Remembrance at Biggin Hill.
Photo and text courtesy of Battle of Britain Monument website