Lloyd Snell 


A small river in Algeria.
There was a deep spot on the bend behind me where we swam. 
We got small fish there too until the Americans moved in upriver 
and killed them all with grenades. 

This was a German plane graveyard in Tunisia. 
A good place to scrounge

We were never very long on large airfields. 
We had to go to a strip like that the sappers just made.

One of our 3-bladed prop MK 5 Spitfires that we had in North Africa. 
Our squadron letters were FT. The other letter was the plane's letter.

Some of the Wireless Section 43 Squadron. 
We are standing on metal matting used for runways on top of mud 
-- sections about 2 by 10 or 12 feet, that clipped together. 
There is a long-range tank on the ground.

Some of A Flight up the coast from Naples.  I was the only Canadian.
There were no parades those days. 

One of the LSTs I was on in the Mediterranean area.
I think this was at Salerno.

A 43 Sqd. MK 9 Spitfire in Italy

Somewhere in Italy
The young fellow under the swastika is wearing a German officer's hat 
that he bet his life on and wore proudly after.
On our first night in Sicily we slept under some large trees about half a mile from the airfield. 
The next morning we were walking there in a group. 
Off to one side in a field of grapes was that cap hanging on a bush. 
That fellow ran in to get it with all of us shouting at him to leave it, 
expecting it to be booby trapped. He was lucky?

One of our Mark 9 Spitfires when they were used as fighter-bombers. 

One Spitfire came back once with the bottom of his wings 
damaged by hitting trees on his low level return.

A German railway gun that covered the beach head at Anzio.
It was kept in a tunnel and at night it was brought out and fired. 
It fired a 562 pound shell. It wakened us some nights. 
The Americans called it the Anzio Express. 

Italy -- TOURISTS!

Accident at Lyons
This was an accident that we watched happening. We were on the airfield at Lyons (those are our Spitfires in the middle picture) and watched the B-24 land with a load of fuel. When it got to the end of the runway it stopped and we heard the P-47 taking off and saw its undercarriage hit the outboard wing of the B-24. It tore off quite a few feet. The P-47 bounced into the air and pancaked in, off the end of the runway. We could see gasoline pouring out of the wing and people scrambling to get out and away. Luckily there was no fire, the pilot walked away as they used to say, and no one was hurt. If you look closely you will see a few feet missing off one wing of the B-24.

Peter Cunningham, the other remaining member of 43 of that time commented: "I remember that well, you may recall that A flight was on standby at that time, I was leading four spits and was very close indeed to the accident, a cloud of fuel vapor rose, if it had blown I wouldn't be here today"


No 43 (China-British) Squadron
Ref: www.rafweb.org

'The Fighting Cocks' were formed on 15 April 1916 at Stirling equipped with various types, which it used for training until December 1916 when Sopwith 1½ Strutters arrived. These were taken to the Western Front the following month, where it operated as an Army squadron carrying out fighter reconnaissance duties.  In September 1917, Camels arrived and ground attack replaced the reconnaissance duties and the squadron continued in the vain until the end of the war.   Snipe began to be received in August 1918 and conversion was completed in October but the Armistice prevented these playing a major part in the conflict, instead they were taken to Germany for occupation duties until August 1919 when the squadron moved to Spittlegate where it disbanded on 31 December 1919.

The squadron reformed on 1 July 1923 at Henlow, again it was a fighter squadron and initially it was equipped with its previous mount the Snipe.  However, Gamecocks were received in March 1926 and conversion was complete by May.  It was this aircraft which led the squadron to adopt the 'fighting cock' as its emblem resulting in its famous 'nickname'.  The squadron moved to Tangmere in December 1926 where Siskins replaced the Gamecocks in June 1928.  These in their turn were replaced by Furies in May 1931 and hurricanes in Nov 1938.

A move north in late 1939 lasted until May 1940 when the squadron returned to Tangmere and later Northolt, where it took part in the early part of the Battle of Britain.  A move to Usworth in September and them Drem in December allowed the squadron to re-equip and act in a training role as well as carry out defensive duties.  In June 1942 it returned to Tangmere and offensive operations over France, but the centre of operations was shifting and in September the squadron prepared to move to the Middle East.

It arrived in Gibraltar in November and was soon operating from bases in Algeria, where in February 1943 it converted to Spitfires.  From June it covered the landings in Sicily from its new base on Malta after which it moved to newly captured airfields on Sicily itself.  Its next move was to Italy in September providing fighter patrols for the advancing armies.  For six weeks from July 1944 it was based in Corsica to cover the Allied landings in Southern France, 'Operation Dragoon', after which it returned to Italy, where it remained for the remainder of WW2.  Occupation duties in Austria and Italy lasted until the squadron disbanded on 16 May 1947 at Treviso.

A new 43 Squadron appeared on 1 February 1949 when No 266 Squadron was renumbered.  It once again found itself at its 'traditional' home of Tangmere, but this was short-lived as the squadron was moved north to Leuchars in Scotland in November 1950.  Initially equipped with Meteors, Hunters arrived in August 1954.  After nearly eleven years at Leuchars the squadron moved to Cyprus in June 1961 and Aden in March 1963, where it disbanded on 14 October 1967.  During the period 13 Mar 1951 to 31 May 1956, the squadron was linked to No 17 in order to keep that squadron's number active.

However, it was not long before 43 returned and a new squadron was formed at Leuchars on 1 September 1969.  It was still in the fighter role but was now equipped with the Phantom FG Mk 1, which it continued to operate until Jul 1989.  It also used some FGR Mk 2s from May 1988 to November 1988.  In July 1989 the squadron's last Phantom was retired and the squadron began training on the Tornado F Mk 2, its first aircraft being received in September when the squadron became operational again.  It continues to fly these in the air defence role from its base at Leuchars. 

Motto:  Gloria Finis (Glory is the end) 

Copyright © M B Barrass 2001- 2006


Lloyd Snell Memories I
Lloyd Snell Memories II
Photos I
Photos II

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