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The Airmen's Stories - F/Lt. W B Royce


William Barrington Royce was born on 22nd August 1913 in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire. He was educated at Winchester House School and Dover College.

He learned to fly with the RAF Reserve and was commissioned in June 1932, serving in 504 Squadron, a Special Reserve Unit.

He relinquished this commission when the Special Reserve was converted to the Auxiliary Air Force in May 1936.




He was called up on 24th August 1939 and he was appointed 'B' Flight Commander on 16th January 1940 with the rank of Acting Flight Lieutenant.

On 2nd April he damaged a He115 floatplane.

On 12th May 1940 Royce flew with 504 to Lille/Marcq airfield in France to reinforce the Air Component. He took temporary command of the squadron on the 14th when the CO was lost. On the 15th he probably destroyed a Me109.

He may have destroyed other enemy aircraft during 504's period in France, which ended on 20th May when the squadron was withdrawn to Manston. After a short stop the squadron flew on to Drem to reform and re-equip.

Royce was awarded the DFC (gazetted 31st May 1940).

On 15th September 1940 he damaged a Do17, on the 27th he destroyed two Me110's and on the 30th he damaged a He111.

On 6th December 1940 Royce was posted away to command the newly-reformed 260 Squadron at Skitten. He led it until 9th April 1941 when he was posted to HQ 14 Group.

He was briefly at Eglinton, Northern Ireland to assist in the training in Spitfires of American pilots who were destined for the Eagle Squadrons. In June 1941 he was posted to 55 OTU at Usworth as 'B' Flight Commander.

In November 1941 Royce was on HMS Ark Royal, directing Hurricanes taking off for Malta. He was in the air when the carrier was sunk on 13th November.

In July 1943 Royce was serving in the carrier HMS Furious, directing aircraft involved in the invasion of Sicily. In 1944/45 he was Station Commander at RAF Catania.

Royce was released from the RAF in 1945 as a Wing Commander. He returned to the family business, Norvic shoe manufacturers.

Royce died on 6th November 1979 in Mansfield.

He was the older brother of MEA Royce.


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