shared the same airfield. Daniel Le Roy du
Vivier flew about fifty sorties with the Wing
On August 16, Sicily was conquered. However, Daniel Le Roy du Vivier would not
be with his pilots to celebrate the event. On
July 31, he was the victim of an unfortunate
accident, which resulted in multiple fractures to his right knee. This injury would keep
him away from operations for a few months. However, he put this 'forced inactivity' to
good use by attending the British Army and
Air Force Staff College in Haifa (Palestine)
during his convalescence. For four months,
he was a trainee in Course No. 10, which he
completed with flying colors. He also had
the opportunity to do a short conversion on
twin-engine aircraft in Egypt.
By early 1944, his condition had improved
sufficiently enough to request and obtain his
return to operations. He was assigned as
Wing Commander flying with No. 324 Wing,
with which he had worked in Sicily. The Wing
was equipped with the Spitfire Mk.IX, and
was deployed to Lago, in Calabria. Daniel Le
Roy du Vivier was reunited with his former
No. 43 Sqn, alongside No. 72, 93 & 111 Squadrons.
Photo: via A. Bar
Spitfire LF.Mk.IX MJ628, R-duV, of Wing Commander Le Roy du Vivier, No. 324 Wing, Italy,
Spitfire LF.Mk.IX MJ628, R-duV, of Wing Commander Le Roy du Vivier, No. 324 Wing, Italy, summer 1944.
During his absence from operations, the
Italian Campaign took shape. In September
1943, the Allies landed in various places:
Reggio, Taranto and Salerno. However, the
progress of the ground troops was difficult.
At the end of 1943, it was blocked at Monte
Cassino. On January 22, the Allies landed at
Anzio, 50 km south of Rome, in an attempt to
catch the Germans off guard.
The missions entrusted to the Wing were
essentially cover missions for the various
bridgeheads, which, until May, were under
constant threat from Luftwaffe aircraft. Daniel Le Roy du Vivier led his Wing in combat
during seventy hours of operations. In less
than four months, the squadrons of No. 324
Wing scored about sixty victories.
On May 8, 1944, the Monte Cassino line fell.
The 324th Wing redeployed to Nettuno (Anzio). On June 4, Rome, the Eternal City, was
conquered and the German retreat to the
north began. The Wing followed the movement occupying successively a series of
airfields along the Tyrrhenian coast: Tre Canelli, Tarquina, and Grossetto. For Daniel Le
Roy du Vivier, however, there was a shadow
over the picture. The injury sustained the
previous year was causing him problems.
His condition required care that conditions
in the field did not allow. The chief medical
officer of No. 211 Group, to which the Wing
was attached, convinced him of the need to
return to Great Britain, the only place where
he could receive adequate orthopedic care.
Photo: archives J-P Decock
Wing Commander, Chief Flying
Spitfire Mk.XVI, serial TB590, R-DV, is the personal aircraft of Wing Commander (Lieutenant-Colonel) Daniel Le Roy
du Vivier as indicated by his initials painted on the fuselage in 1946 at Beauvechain.
On July 6, 1944, Daniel Le Roy du Vivier returned to the northern fog and quickly moved heaven and earth to obtain a new operational assignment. But from then on, it was
his rich experience that the RAF wanted to
exploit for the greater benefit of young pilots. On August 14, he moved to No. 53 OTU
at Kirton-in-Lindsey as Wing Commander,
Chief Flying Instructor. He remained there
until June 26, 1945, when he was appointed
command of No. 61 OTU at Keevil, Wiltshire.
The war in Europe ended on May 8, 1945. The
Belgian section of the RAF, with a view to
reconstituting a national air force, wanted
to “recuperate” Daniel Le Roy du Vivier. But
at the time, he thought it more important to
continue his involvement in the RAF. On July
22, he requested a posting to the Far East