James Edgar Kain was born in Hastings New Zealand on the  27th of June 1918. 'Cobber' as he would become to be known as worked at first for his Father's warehouse business in Wellington. In 1936 he obtained his private pilot's licence with the Wellington Aero Club before leaving New Zealand in November for London to join the RAF. Kain began his flying training in January 1937 and in late November was posted to 73 Squadron. Re-equipped with Hurricanes in 1938, the squadron was fully operational by March 1939 and on 24 August was ordered to mobilise for war. Four days after war was declared 73's sixteen Hurricanes flew across the Channel to France. On 10 September 1939 Kain flew his first operational patrols, but saw no enemy activity. On a defensive patrol on the 8th of  November Kain spotted a Do 17 reconnaissance aircraft ahead and above him. It began to climb and Kain followed, making two attacks but seeing no results. At 27,000 feet, with his Hurricane showing signs of strain, he attacked again and the Dornier dived steeply. Kain followed but pulled out when he saw fabric peeling off his wings. The Dornier crashed into a village, exploding on impact and killing the crew.


Just over two weeks later he shot down another Dornier, Kain would have to wait almost three months for his next victory, while on a patrol he spotted several HE 111s, he climbed to engage but was bounced by BF 109s of III/JG53, he was hit by canon fire but managed to pull hard to the right causing his attacker to over shoot him, Kain returned fire and was rewarded by a plume of black smoke billowing from the 109. Neglecting his rear though Kain was hit again this time his cockpit filled with smoke and his engine cut out, It is said that his assailant was none other than Werners Molders. Kain managed to glide his engine-less aircraft to a French airfield. Kain again had a narrow escape on the 26th of March when leading a section of Hurricanes he encountered 109s (again probably of III/JG53) he immediately attacked and claimed two 109s in quick succession. This made Kain the first RAF 'Ace' of the War, his aircraft was then hit by return fire, the engine caught fire and Kain was hit in the leg, he had no choice but to bail. In 17 days Kain claimed another 11 victories. It was said of Kain that he attacked whatever he saw and he showed little finesse in his fighting. Worn out by continual  fighting Kain was ordered to return to England immediately. The following morning a group gathered to bid him farewell as he took off in his Hurricane to fly to Le Mans to collect his kit. Whether he felt that those watching below expected him to put on a last show will never be known but he performed a series of low level aerobatics before crashing into the ground. The Hurricane broke up and Kain, fatally injured, was thrown clear. James 'Cobber' Kain finished the War with 16 victories.