07.11.1941 No. 72 Squadron Spitfire Vb W3367 Fl/Lt. Birkland M.i.D.
Date: 7th November 1941 (Friday)
Unit: No. 72 Squadron (Swift)
Type: Spitfire Vb
Base: RAF Acklington, Northumberland.
Location: Not yet identified
Pilot: Fl/Lt. Henry Birkland MiD. J/5233 RCAF Age 25. PoW. (1)
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking part in a "RODEO" (A fighter sweep - without bombers - see abbreviation list) during the afternoon of the 7th November 1941 and shot down by JG26. He was subsequently made a PoW spending some time in Stalag Luft III.
On the 31st March 1944 he was one of 76 PoW's that took part in the famous 'Great Escape'. 50 of these were murdered, 15 recaptured and 11 escaped.
6 of those murdered from the 50 were Canadians (Fl/Lt G.E. McGill, Fl/Lt. H. Birkland MiD., Fl/Lt. Wiley, Fl/Lt. G.A. Kidder, Fl/Lt. P.W. Langford, Fl/Lt. J.C. Wernham MiD) and were executed by the Gestapo - on the personal orders from Adolf Hitler.
Memorial at Birkland Lake shown above
(1) Birkland Lake at Alberta, Canada has been named after Fl/Lt. Birkland MiD.
Fl/Lt. Henry Birkland MiD. Poznan Old Garrison Cemetery, Poland. Grave. 7C.3. Son of Kristian M. Birkland and Botilda Birkland, of 334 Third Avenue West, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Enlisted in RCAF in July 1940, trained in Canada, receiving his wings at Prince Edward Island 10th April 1944. His grave inscription reads: Beloved by family and friends alike. He gave his life, knowing this right.
Research for relatives of the pilot. With thanks to the following: The CWGC, 'Fighter Command Losses' - Norman Franks.