KITS 03/2022

MJ291, F/O Otto Smik, No. 310 (Czechoslovak) Squadron, RAF Appledram,

West Sussex, United Kingdom, June 1944

After returning from operational rest to No. 310 (Czechoslovak) Squadron, F/O Otto Smik chose the MJ291

(coded NN-N) as his personal Spitfire aircraft. Starting

from early April he flew many combat sorties with her

and, shortly before the invasion, he also participated

in attack missions to V-1 missile bases (Operation

Noball). He also flew her in the depicted form during

the first days of the Normandy landings. The aircraft

sported quick identification black and white stripes on

the fuselage and both wing halves. Smik had also six

white swastikas painted on the fuel tank cover to indicate the number of kills achieved as of June 7, 1944.

During the invasion days, three more swastikas were

added by June 17 as Smik shot down an Fw 190 on June

8 and added another one on June 17. More to it, he also

scored in cooperation with P/O Vindiš and so he added

another shared victory. These successes made Smik

not only the most successful pilot of No. 134 (Czechoslovak) Wing during the Normandy landings, but also

the most successful Czechoslovak pilot flying Spitfires

with a total of nine kills and two shared.

MH883, F/Lt George F. Beurling, No. 412 Squadron RCAF, RAF Biggin Hill,

United Kingdom, December 1943 – April 1944

George Frederick Beurling, a brilliant pilot and

shooter but also a naturally enigmatic Canadian,

achieved incredible success during the fierce fighting over Malta in 1942, scoring 28 confirmed kills in

only six months. In early November 1943, he returned

to combat action with No. 127 (RCAF) Wing. He flew

with No. 403 Squadron RCAF initially, then with No.

412 Squadron RCAF. There he used the MH883 aircraft

as his personal Spitfire. Flying it he shot down an Fw

190A-5 of Heinz Wyrich of 5. Staffel JG 26 during a

flight on December 30, 1943. It was Beurling's 32nd

and final victory. Like his previous Spitfires he had

flown regularly, this one also sported an impressive

list of victories on the left side of the fuselage under

the cockpit. And Beurling had painstakingly painted

them himself. In early April he returned to Canada

after a disagreement with his superior commander.

Interestingly, although nine of his Maltese casualties

were Italian aircraft, all of his painted kills are marked with the German swastika.

MJ628, W/Cdr Daniel A. R. G. le Roy du Vivier, CO of No. 324 Wing, Italy, May 1944

One of the privileges of Wing Commanders in the RAF

was the possibility to use their initials as the code

on their personal aircraft. The commander of No. 324

Wing, W/Cdr Daniel Albert Raymond Georges le Roy

du Vivier, took advantage of this opportunity, as evidenced not only by the aircraft's code made of letters


INFO Eduard

R du V, but also by the Wing Commander pennant

under the cockpit. Belgian le Roy du Vivier had already joined the fighting when Germany invaded the

Netherlands in May 1940. After leaving for the UK, he

spent most of his time in the ranks of No. 43 Squadron, which he eventually commanded. He took part

in the attempted landing at Dieppe and later moved

to North Africa, commanding first No. 239 Wing and

then No. 324 Wing. He returned to the UK in July 1944.

This aircraft was inherited from him by the new Wing

Commander, Barrie Heath, and changed its code to

the B H letters.

March 2022