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Squadron renamed after Leasider died in crash 432 LEASIDE BOMBER SQUADRON - PART 2

Harold Wilmer Kirby

Harold Wilmer Kirby

The 432 Leaside Bomber Squadron was named after a Leaside resident died in a World War II crash, along with three other crew members, over Hamburg, Germany on July 30, 1943.

Harold Wilmer Kerby was only 26 at the time but already had made great achievements, including founding the squadron only two months previously.

It had been called the Fox squadron, but the name was changed when Leaside adopted it in November that year.

Kerby had been the youngest officer (23) in the RCAF to be promoted to squadron leader in December 1940, and was promoted a year later to wing commander.

He also served as Air Marshal W.A. Bishop’s special assistant while the World War I fighter ace visited RAF bases in England.

Kerby’s success started early.

He had obtained his pilot’s licence in 1934 at the age of 17, at the time the youngest person in Canada to do so.

He attended Upper Canada College on a scholarship and graduated at 16 winning the Governor General’s medal. He graduated from Trinity College at the University of Toronto with a degree in political science, while at the same time founding its varsity flying club.

He then studied law at Osgoode Hall where he was a second-year student when the war broke out.

He enlisted in the RCAF three days later.

He is buried in the Hamburg Cemetery.