Memorial of Verdun
Text & Pictures: Bruno Ghils - ©SBAP 2013 

Rather write of the Manston museums as in fact there are two museums next to each other.

The first, the RAF MANSTON MUSEUM, is dedicated to the history of the Manston airbase, today a civil airport although there is still some Royal Air Force activity present. Visitors can admire mythical airplanes of the RAF (Meteor NF11, Westland Wessex, DH Chipmunk) as well as several cockpits (Hunter, Victor, Buccaneer) without forgetting a T33 in USAF colors… these aircraft are remarkably well preserved… Which is a bit less for those on the outside (Jaguar, Sikorsky S.55)… One can also find a great variety of objects, scale models, uniforms and various vehicles.

The second, the MEMORIAL MUSEUM is dedicated to the second world war and to the Battle of Britain… It shows a Spitfire and a Hurricane. And for us Belgian, the most interesting thing is that this Hurricane MK2c was rebuild in the colors of Colonel Daniel Le Roy du Vivier, DFC, Belgian pilot renowned within the Royal Air Force. These aircraft are in storage as they are in fact property of the RAF Museum at Hendon.

(Bruno Ghils)  

You are invited to visit those two museums, which, although not as important regarding the number of aircraft, met once again the image of the United Kingdom… a fantastic country respecting its history and maintaining its heritage with the mission to forward it to future generations.

The museums ocated in Manston (KENT).. less than an half hour from Dover, deserve a little detour without having to wait for an airshow at the airbase. Just a little halt before visiting the UK or before embarking to the continent again… You will find passionate people, volunteer and devoted to welcome and guide you.

  The V.1 flying bomb...bad memories for Great Britain (Bruno Ghils)

The Allied Air Crew Memorial (Bruno Ghils)

  In front of the Spitfire Memorial (Bruno Ghils)
Different British vehicles are also preserved (Bruno Ghils) Note in background the nose section of a Short 330 (Bruno Ghils)
(Bruno Ghils) (Bruno Ghils)
Sepecat Jaguar GR3A from 41 Squadron (Bruno Ghils)
Nose section of a Tornado GR1 (Bruno Ghils) Westland WS-55-2 Whirlwind (Bruno Ghils)
English Electric Canberra B15 nose section (Bruno Ghils) Handley Page HP-80 Victor K2 nose section (Bruno Ghils)
Hawker Siddeley Buccaneer S2B nose section (Bruno Ghils) (Bruno Ghils)
De Havilland Canada DHC-1 Chipmunk T.10 (Bruno Ghils) (Bruno Ghils)
Slingsby Grasshopper TX.1 above the Chipmunk (Bruno Ghils) Slingsby Cadet TX.3 (Bruno Ghils)
Gloster Meteor TT.20 paint as Meteor NF.11 from  85 Squadron (Bruno Ghils) (Bruno Ghils)

(Bruno Ghils)

  Victor K2 navigator seat (non ejectable) (Bruno Ghils)
Westland Wessex HU5 (Bruno Ghils) (Bruno Ghils)
Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter (Bruno Ghils) Canadair CT-33A-N Silver Star carrying USAF colors (Bruno Ghils)
(Bruno Ghils) (Bruno Ghils)
(Bruno Ghils) Supermarine Spitfire LF16E in RCAF 403 Squadron colors (Bruno Ghils)
(Bruno Ghils) (Bruno Ghils)
(Bruno Ghils) Hurricane Mk IIc FT-A (BN230) from Daniel Le Roy du Vivier (Bruno Ghils)
The famous logo under the cockpit of the FT-A (Bruno Ghils) (Bruno Ghils)

Colonel (Res) Daniel Le Roy du Vivier was born at Amersfoort (Holland) on January 13, 1915.

After a licence in commercial sciences at the “Université Catholique de Louvain” (UCL), Le Roy du Vivier takes active service as a soldier in the 1er Régiment des Guides on July 31, 1935. After his military service, he enrolled again as a student-pilot on April 01, 1937.

Part of the 75th Promotion, he graduated as a military pilot on March 15, 1938 and goes to the 1er Régiment d'Aéronautique 3ème Escadrille at Gossoncourt on April 01, 1938 and then to the 2ème Régiment d'Aéronautique II Groupe 4ème Escadrille on 14 septembre 1938 at Evere.

May 10, 1940, during the German attack, he is stationed at Nivelles as an ‘adjudant’. Volunteer to take part in a high risk mission, he patrols in a single seater Fairey Firefly between Antwerp-Leuven-Brussels accompagnied by Major Jacques Lamarche and Lieutenant Yves du Monceau de Bergendal. Daniel Le Roy  du Vivier is shot down by friendly fire in the vicinity of Keerbergen. Regarding the German progress he is forced to move to France with his unit on May 15, 1940.

After some inactive times, the aviators are ordered on June 19, 1940 to surrender, but Le Roy du Vivier decides to move to England. As soon as he arrives in Great-Britain he is directed towards the RAF depot at Gloucester spending about twelve days with the Operational Training Unit 7 where instructors learn him to fly the airplanes used at that time. On August 04, Le Roy du Vivier is assigned to the Sqn 43.

His first victory, a Junkers 87 was on August 16.

Monday September 02, 1940 in the afternoon pursuing a German fighter, he is himself attacked by another enemy at an altitude of 3.000 meters and goes down in flames. Luckily he escapes with his parachute.

Daniel Le Roy du Vivier (coll SBAP)  

From September 02 till October 22, 1940 he stays at the Casualty Clearing Station at Tenterden, to return to his Sqn 43 which he will serve in during 27 months. At first as a Pilot-officer, then as a Flight Commander, to move on to a Squadron Leader after 18 months. He is then the first non-Britannic pilot to lead an English squadron.

During May 1941 he wins his second victory (Junkers 88) and shoots down three other enemy aircraft in collaboration with his comrades. These outstanding facts led to his assignment as a Flight Commander and on January 03, 1942, a letter from the Air Ministry confers Daniel Le Roy du Vivier the Distinguished Flying Cross - D.F.C.

43 Squadron leader Le Roy du Vivier nomination The first non British squadron leader (coll SBAP)

Then in August 1942, operation Dieppe, he participate brilliantly with his squadron engaging 4 times enemy positions with the canons and returning each time in a damaged aircraft. His heroic behavior is rewarded by the R.A.F. staff allowing him to wear a ‘Bar’ on the ribbon of his D.F.C. After one of his missions he is taken on a stretcher to a medical station exhausted by this kind of lifestyle and sent to rest with the 13 Group HQ.

On December 22, 1942 he is at the Central Gunnery School at Sutton Bridge, again at the 13 Group HQ on February 13, 1943 and at the 1 Personnel Dispatch Center on April 07. He is assigned to the Middle East Command on April 13, 1943.

During the Middle East battlefront, Daniel Le Roy du Vivier takes command of the 239 Fighter Bomber Wing Tunisia-Sicily made up by the five following squadrons: Sqn 1 SAAF, Sqn 3 RAAF, 450 RAAF and Sqn 112 and 260 RAF.

In July 1943 he is assigned as a senior officer responsible for the operations of the 324 Fighter Wing composed by the Sqn 43, 72, 93, 111 and 601.
After the Italian campaign, Wing Commander Le Roy du Vivier returns to the R.A.F. on July 08, 1944, to the Operational Training Unit 356 on August 14, to the Operational Training Unit 616 on June 26, 1945 and to the General Inspectorate of the Belgian Air Force on September 03, 1945.

Gunnery school at Sutton bridge airfield (coll SBAP)  

Subsequently to the German capitulation he is stationed at Fasberg with the two Belgian fighter squadrons, which will return definitively to Belgium at the Beauvechain airbase.

During the combats in Sicily, Wing Commander Daniel Le Roy du Vivier was badly hurt on the right leg and asked to be put with the reserve.


Distinguished Flying Cross with one bar on November 03, 1942.

The ‘Croix de guerre 1940’ with 3 palms and 3 bronze lions on January 12, 1943.

The ‘Croix d'Officier de l'Ordre de Léopold’ with palm on March 12, 1946.

Officer in the ‘Légion d'Honneur Française’ on September 20, 1950.

The ‘French Croix de guerre with palm’ on September 20, 1950.

The ‘Croix d'Officier de l'Ordre de la Couronne’ on April 08, 1951.

The ‘Croix de Commandeur de l'Ordre de la Couronne’ on April 08, 1955.

The ‘Croix de Commandeur de l'Ordre de Léopold’ on November 15, 1955.


3 acknowledged victories

2 victories with collaboration

1 probable victory

1 probable victory with collaboration

1 damaged enemy aircraft

  In operation (coll SBAP)
The Corgi die cast model dedicated to Daniel Le Roy du Vivier (Serge Van Heertum)  
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