Le Roy

du Vivier




“A man of character, he was modest in peace, as he was brave in battle.”

When No. 160 (Belgian) Wing was formed at Fassberg, Germany,

during the first months of 1946, which re-grouped No. 350 and

No. 349 (Belgian) fighter squadrons RAF, Wing Commander Daniel Le Roy du Vivier (DFC) was summoned to take its command.

This was one of the great Belgian personalities in the RAF who thus introduced a line of

Corps Commanders that for half a century

would command this unit, becoming the 1st

Fighter Wing on February 1, 1948.

Daniel Le Roy du Vivier, familiarly known

as “Boy” by his comrades in arms, was an

unusual personality. Born in Amersfoort

(NL) on January 13, 1915, he studied Greco-Latin humanities at the Jesuit College of

Mont-Godinne before taking a degree in commercial and consular sciences at the University of Louvain.

Pilot in the “Aéronautique Militaire”

His studies were interrupted by the call to

arms: on August 1, 1935, he was drafted as

a militia soldier into the 1st Regiment of Guides (army). Attracted by aviation, he asked

to join the Aéronautique Militaire (military

aeronautics/aviation) and on April 1, 1937,

signed up as a student pilot. He was attached to the 75th Class.

He was commissioned on March 15, 1938,

and was initially posted to the 1st Aeronauti-


INFO Eduard

cal Regiment at Gossoncourt as an observation pilot flying the Fairey Fox. On September 14, 1938, he joined the 2nd Aeronautical

Regiment at Nivelles as a fighter pilot on the

Fairey Firefly.

Having become a candidate second lieutenant, 1939 and the first months of 1940 saw

him in Evere (close to Brussels), undergoing

his weapons training and completing the observer course. His training was somewhat

disrupted because at the end of the decade,

the international horizon was rapidly darkening. On September 1, 1939; German troops invaded Poland They would only make

mincemeat of it. France and England, the

guarantor powers of Polish independence, declared war on Nazi Germany, but did

not react. The Phoney War, marked, only by

sporadic air operations, set in. In Belgium,

mobilisation was decreed. The eight-month

period leading up to the invasion of the

country was punctuated by several heightened alerts.

The Belgian authorities still wanted to believe that the belligerents respected our

Photo: collection Deman via A. Bar.

January 13, 1915 — September 2, 1981

neutrality, but our airspace was regularly violated by British and German aircraft.

Our fighter squadrons policed the skies,

attempted to intercept and force intruders

to land at our airfields, rarely with success.

1. On September 9, British Whitley bombers

were reported over the Ardennes, and the

pilots at Nivelles were alerted. A patrol

consisting of a Fairey Fox piloted by captain

Boussa and two Fairey Fireflies piloted by

Daniel Le Roy du Vivier and Marcel Michotte,

intercepted one of the English bombers in

the vicinity of Gembloux. Our aircraft flanked

the intruder. The leader fired a burst of tracer bullets in front of the bomber's nose to

force it to land. It was in vain, and better yet,

the tail gunner returned the favour and fired

at our aircraft, hitting Daniel Le Roy du Vivier's Firefly. Fortunately, he was not wounded and was able to reach Nivelles safely...

Daniel Le Roy du Vivier was promoted to

warrant officer CSLA on March 1,1940. Still in

training, he continued his flying duties on the

Firefly while, in the meantime, his original

unit, the 4/II/21), which with the 3/II/2 constitute the "Cocottes" Group, was re-equipped

with the Fiat CR.42. On May 10, 1940, the “Cocottes” under the command of Major Lamarche took off at dawn and reached Brustem,

the Group's home base.

Although credited with a few victories, the

Group saw almost all of its potential destroyed on the ground during the first two days

June 2022