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The Airmen's Stories - P/O D A R G le Roy du Vivier


Daniel Albert Raymond Georges le Roy du Vivier was born on 13th January 1915 in Amersfoort, Belgium. He did his military service in the Guides and in 1937 entered l'Aeronautique Militaire, carrying out his flying training at Wevelghem, where he gained his wings on 15th March 1938. He was posted to Tirlemont on 29th November 1939 as a Sergeant-Pilot.

On the night of 8th/9th September 1939 a Whitley of 102 Squadron (captained by F/O WCG Cogman) based at Driffield, strayed over Belgium, then neutral, while on an operation to drop leaflets over the Ruhr. Belgian fighters from various units at Nivelles were scrambled. Sgt. le Roy du Vivier, flying a Fairey Firefly, was among those to attack the bomber. The Firefly was hit by return fire and forced to land at its base. Another Belgian aircraft was hit and the crew baled out, one being injured on landing. The Whitley eventually put down at Nivelles and the crew was briefly interned. The British ambassador apologised in person to the Belgian Home Affairs Minister.

Commissioned on 1st March 1940, le Roy du Vivier joined 4/IIe Groupe de Chasse at Nivelles, flying Fiat CR42 and Fairey Firefly biplanes. On 11th May he was shot down in a Firefly, baled out and was taken prisoner by the Belgians, mistaken for a German paratrooper.

On 15th May le Roy du Vivier's unit was posted to France. On 21st June the French signed an Armistice with the Germans and the Belgians were told to stay put. With other pilots le Roy du Vivier reached Port Vendres where with the help of a British destroyer and the support of the Belgian Embassy in London they caught a passing convoy and embarked on the SS Apapa on the 24th. They arrived in Liverpool on 7th July.

Le Roy du Vivier was posted as a deserter by the French. He was commissioned in the RAF, went to 5 OTU at Aston Down to convert to Hurricanes and then joined 43 Squadron at Tangmere on 4th August. He claimed a Ju87 destroyed and another damaged on 16th August. He baled out on 2nd September following a combat with Me109s and was admitted to the casualty clearing station at Benenden, suffering from leg wounds. His Hurricane, P3903, crashed at Bell Corner, near Old Romney.



Later in September le Roy du Vivier was posted to 229 Squadron at Northolt. On 27th September he got a probable Ju88 and 12th December shared a probable Me109.

On 22nd October le Roy du Vivier returned to 43 squadron. He was made a Flight Commander on 14th April 1941. He shared Ju88s on 6th and 10th May and destroyed a Ju88 on 28th May.

He was awarded the Croix de Guerre (Belgian) (gazetted 21st July 1941) and then took command of 43 Squadron on 15th January 1942 and was awarded the DFC (gazetted 30th January 1942).

He destroyed a Ju88 on 25th April, was awarded a Bar to the DFC (gazetted 15th september 1942) and on 22nd September was posted to HQ 13 Group on staff duties.

Le Roy du Vivier went to the Middle East in April 1943 and was posted to lead 324 Wing in Italy on 19th July. He went to RAF Staff College at Haifa for a course and rejoined the Wing on 24th December. He returned to England in July 1944 and took command of 53 OTU on 14th August.

In April 1946 le Roy du Vivier took command of 160 Belgian Wing in Germany. He left the Air Force on 16th September 1946 and joined Sabena Airlines as a pilot. He was killed in a road accident in the USA on 2nd September 1981. His ashes were interred at Tangmere.


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