No. 43 Sqn badge.

During the winter of 1941-42, Sqn Ldr Daniel Le Roy du Vivier and some pilots display the No. 43 Sqn RAF emblem,

the Fighting Cocks.

now part of No.13 Group and is employed as

a day and night fighter squadron.

The extreme tension of the summer had

subsided somewhat. The air war over the

British Isles took a new turn. The determination of the RAF had defeated Hitler's invasion plans and the Germans realized that they

had failed. The offensive continued for a few

more months with the sole aim of undermining British morale. This would be the period

of night bombing raids on London, Coventry

and Birmingham.

Gradually, the pressure of the Luftwaffe

weakened. From the first months of 1941, the

bulk of the bombing units were transferred

to Central Europe to operate in the Balkans

and Crete or in Poland to prepare for the

invasion of Russia (Soviet Union?). Nevertheless, the Germans would still regularly

launch deadly attacks on Great Britain, as

witnessed by the terrible night raid on the

“City” on May 10, 1941.

Within No. 13 Group, No. 43 Sqn was responsible for the Ouston Sector. Their vigilance

remained intact, and the squadron was regularly among the units on alert. Daniel Le

Roy du Vivier knew how to make himself

appreciated and in April 1941, he was appointed A Flight Leader.

In May 1941, the Luftwaffe launched a series

of small raids on Glasgow and the Firth of

Forth, which gave Daniel Le Roy du Vivier

the opportunity to distinguish himself by

achieving three victories. Three Junkers 88s

did not return to their base.

On January 3, 1942, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with the citation:

“Has displayed exceptional ability as a Flight

Commander and has been responsible for

the high standard of efficiency maintained

by his flight in day and night operations. He

has destroyed four enemy aircraft.” On the

grounds for the recognition of his qualities

as a fighter and leader of men, we also read:

“When his Squadron Commander was compelled to ditch in the sea, he directed a destroyer to the spot from 30 miles away and

enabled the officer to be rescued within two


In November 1941, Daniel Le Roy du Vivier

was appointed Squadron Leader, Commander of No. 43 Sqn. This was an outstanding

honor, and he was the first foreign officer

to be entrusted by the RAF with one of its

oldest and most prestigious fighter squadrons, the “Fighting Cocks”.

June 2022

mere. Operation Jubilee, the raid on Dieppe,

was being prepared. To quote Henri Bernard: “The British had decided to mount

a reconnaissance in force on the Continent,

the purpose of which was not only to harass

and worry the enemy and encourage him to

keep large numbers of troops in the West,

but also to test the defensive organizations

on the coast, to estimate their value, to assess the density of troops occupying them,

to assess the transport and landing facilities

required for an invading force and to see

how the equipment would perform on the

beaches. The RAF on the other hand was seeking information on the num“Never in the field of human conflict was so much ber of fighters

owed by so many to so few.”

held in the West

for the defense

(W. Churchill).

of the continent

and the Allied

But, obviously, at the beginning of 1942, Danicommand hoped by this threat to draw fracel Le Roy du Vivier was eating his heart out.

tions of the Luftwaffe from the East to the

The proof is in the personal arrangement he

Atlantic at a time when the Germans were

had with the controllers at Ouston who inmaking a strong push into southern Russia.”

form him of any enemy intrusion when 43

A Canadian Division and British Commando

Sqn is not at readiness. This was the case on

units would be involved. Fifty squadrons of

April 25, when a threat was detected. Daniel

Fighter Command provided ground support

Le Roy du Vivier took off in his Hurricane,

and air cover for the operation. During the

alone. He listened to the instructions given to

day of August 19, 1942, they carried out 2,399

the Spitfire section in charge of the intercept

sorties. At the head of No. 43 Sqn, Daniel Le

and arranged to cut off the intruders' return

Roy du Vivier led the Tangmere Wing. The

route. Suddenly, at 30,000 feet and 40 miles

Hurricanes were tasked with attacking the

out to sea, he saw a Junkers Ju 88, which he

coastal defenses at H-hour. During the first

immediately engaged. But the rear gunner

mission, a shell crossed the right wing of

decided to put up a fight. A shell pierced the

Daniel Le Roy du Vivier's plane, fortunateright front panel of the Hurricane's canopy,

ly without hitting any vital element. He was

pierced the restraining straps and lodged in

able to bring the plane back to Tangmere.

the armored seat plate. Unperturbed, Daniel

Three times during that day, Daniel Le Roy

Le Roy du Vivier continued his attack. The Ju

du Vivier returned with his squadron into

the fray. At the same time, another Belgian

88 went down in flames into the sea.

pilot led his squadron into battle: Squadron

In June 1942, No. 43 Sqn returned to Tang-

INFO Eduard