Image courtesy of ACES OF WW2 and Jim Uhl.

Registered at birth – LEROY KENNETH HOLDER.


Born: 6th September 1914, Holder Ranch, Buena Park, Orange County, California, U.S.A.

Died: 12th December 1941; age: 26; failed to return from a patrol flight. His body was recovered from the sea at Sandy Point, Frinton-on-Sea, Essex.

Residence: R.F.D.1, Box 208, Buena Park, Orange County, California.

Occupation: Ranch Labourer – Mr. Luebermaa Bros. Ranch, R.F.D.1, Box 206, Buena Park, Orange County, California.

Registration date: 16th October 1940. Light complexion, blue eyes & blonde hair.

Kenneth tried to enlist in the United States Army Air Corps, but a slight eye defect kept him from joining. Determined to serve in the air corps, Kenneth attended the Grand Central Air Terminal at Glendale, Los Angeles, California, and graduated in June 1941.

Kenneth was 26 years old, when he departed from the Port of  Montréal, Quebec, Canada, on board S.S.’Tilapa’ of the Cunard White Star Line – Master S. Browne. He was 1 of 9 Air Pilots, all U.S.A. Citizens travelling 1st Class via Sydney, N.S.W, care of the British Air Ministry, Head Quarters, London. On the 14th August 1941 the S.S.’Tilapa’ arrived at the Port of Liverpool.

Reporting to the Air Ministry in London in July, he was sent to Kirton-in-Lindsey, Lincolnshire where he was assigned to duty flying Spitfires and Hurricanes with the 121st Eagle Squadron.


Rank: Pilot Officer/Pilot; Service Number: 118173.

Regiment: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 121 (Eagle) Squadron – U.S. Eighth Air Force.


Grave Reference:

X.H.436 F.

Ipswich New Cemetery,





1920   Buena Park Township, Orange County, California.


Kenneth was 5 years old and living with his parents & siblings.

David Holder, 60, a Farmer.

Emily Holder (nee Dreger), 38.

Irma V. Holder, 15, born California.

Irvin David Holder, 13, born California.

Kenneth’s parents spoke German and English. His parents & siblings could read & write.


1930   Anaheim, Orange County, California.

Kenneth was 15 years old and living with his parents & brother.

David, 70, a Farmer – own account.

Emily, 49.

Irvin, 23, a Labourer – Farm.

The Holder family could read & write and owned their home.


1940   Anaheim, Orange County, California.


Kenneth was 24 years old, a Labourer – Ranch. He was living with his widowed mother.

Emily, 59, a Chicken Fryer – Cafe.

Their home was rented.

(Emily and David Holder. (left)) 

Kenneth’s father David Holder, was born in July 1859, at Zainingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. He was baptised on the 17th July 1859, at Zainingen. Parents: Johnan Greg Holder & Ana Maria Holder (near Shindler), a Farmer. Godparents: Johannes Blorhinger & Barbara Baumein. David emigrated to the United States of America in 1873. He embarked from the Port of Hamburg, and arrived at the Port of New York on the 15th May 1873. Declaration of Intention – On the 7th August 1900, at Orange County, California, 41 year old, David, a native of Germany, declared his intention to become a Citizen of the U.S.A. and renouce all Allegiance to William I, Emperor of Germany. David died September 1936, at Buena Park, Orange County.

Kenneth’s mother, Emily Dreger, was born in March 1881, Germany, daughter of Gottlieb Dreger, born Kutno, Lodzkie, Poland and Juliana Dreger (nee Roeder), born Russia.


Kenneth was educated at Centrailia Elementary School and Anaheim High School. He was intensely interested in areonautics, he learned to fly at Anaheim Airport, under the tutelage of San Coughran.


The Polaris Flight Academy Graduates 1941

Image courtesy of ACES OF WW2 and Jim Uhl.

Standing: Jimmy Peck, Kenny Holder, Lewis Louden, Hugh Brown, Jimmy Coxetter, Johnny Lynch, Bob Spraque, Forrest “Frosty”. Cox & Don McLeod. Instructors Squatting infront. 


Kenneth is remembered on the Eagle Squadron Memorial, at Grosvenor Square, London.


Kenneth and fellow airmen photograph raising the American flag  –

Family photographs and extra family information courtesy of Glenn Frank.





12th December 1941

Aircraft: Supermarine Spitfire Vb; serial number: AA871; named ‘Royal Tunbridge Wells,’ based at Kirton-in-Lindsey, Lincolnshire. On the 12th December 1941, Kenneth failed to return from a patrol flight off the Lincolnshire coast. His body was recovered from the sea two weeks later.


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