The Airmen's Stories - F/O M E A Royce
Michael Elliott Appelbee Royce was born on 23rd September 1919 and attended Rugby School from 1933 to 1936. After leaving he joined Rolls Royce as an apprentice.
He was commissioned in 504 Squadron Auxiliary Air Force in August 1938 and reported for full-time service in December 1939.
On 2nd April 1940 he damaged a He115 over the North Sea.
On 12th May 1940 Royce flew with 504 to Lille/Marcq in France to reinforce the Air Component. On the 14th he destroyed a He111, shared in the destruction of a Ju88 and damaged a Me110. On this day he was shot down and baled out, landing near Louvignies in Belgium.
Royce made his own way back to Lille by various forms of transport. On 19th May he destroyed a Me109.
The squadron returned to Manston on 20th May. After a short stop the surviving aircraft flew on to Wick to reform and re-equip.
On 11th September Royce got a probable Do17, on the 15th he shared a Do17 and damaged another, on the 27th damaged a Me110, on the 30th damaged a He111 and on 20th October damaged a Ju88.
(Above): Dianne Seabourne (daughter of Sgt. D Haywood of 504) kindly sent these images of the 504 Squadron mascot, Susie, in the second photo she is on the Hurricane of F/O Royce.
In June 1941 Royce was OC 'B' Flight at 55 OTU. Later in the year he was loaned to Rolls Royce by the RAF for test pilot duties at Hucknall. He did not fly operationally again.
He was released from the RAF in 1946 as a Squadron Leader and returned to the family business, Norvic shoe manufacturers, eventually becoming Managing Director.
Royce died of cancer in 1998.
He is buried in the churchyard of the church of St. Michael the Archangel, Shalfleet, Isle of Wight.
He was the younger brother of WB Royce.