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[Home] [Profiles 103 Sqn N to Z] [Vivian Robert Snell]

W/C Vivian Robert Snell RAF – 88 Squadron / 98 Squadron / 103 Squadron / 151 Squadron / 501 Squadron / 308 Squadron / 85 Squadron / 125 Squadron – Pre War / WW2 - Pilot

Battle of France – Battle of Britain – Bombers – Day Fighters – Night Fighters

103 Squadron Rheges Tait C Snell and Havers J

103 Squadron - Rheges - Tait, Snell and Havers

Vivian Robert Snell was born in Swansea in June 1918, the son of a music publisher. He joined the RAF on a short service commission undertook his initial training course on 6 October 1938.

He attended 6 FTS Little Rissington for No. 11 Course from 2 January to 5 August 1939.

After completing his training Snell joined 88 Squadron at Boscombe Down.

He later joined 98 Squadron on 16 April 1940 which was based at Nantes in France and was the reserve pool for the British Expeditionary Force Fairey Battle Squadrons providing replacement aircraft and aircrew for the operational Fairey Battle Squadrons at the front line.

Following the early heavy losses in the first few days of the Battle of France Snell was transferred to 103 Squadron at Betheniville. While with the Squadron he flew a number of operations however there are no details of these and he is not mentioned in any of the records

Snell returned to the UK when the Squadron evacuated from France and relocated at RAF Newton, Notts. It was here that Snell volunteered to serve in Fighter Command in August 1940 and on 4 September he joined 151 Squadron at Digby. He was then posted to 501 Squadron at Kenley on 26 September for operational duties.

Like all the Battle of Britain Squadrons in the south east he was very active during this period often flying four sorties a day. He was credited with 3 kills with several shared and damaged. He was also shot down himself over Cranbrook in Hurricane N2438 and baled out but fortunately was unhurt.

On 1 December 1940 Snell joined 308 Squadron at Baginton a recently formed Polish fighter squadron, which was declared operational on 12th December. He then served with 85 Squadron again on Hurricanes. This Squadron soon converted to the night fighting role flying radar equipped Douglas A-20 Havoc. Here Snell added to his total kills. After two years he was posted to the Telecommunications Research Establishment at RAF Defford on night fighting radar trials. This was followed in 1943 by a posting to Fighter Command HQ, Dudley Priory where I believe he remained till the end of the war.

After VE Day he commanded of 125 Squadron at Church Fenton from October 1945 until it was disbanded there on 20th November 1945.

During WW2 he flew a large number of different aircraft types in a variety of roles and must have had a fascinating log book

Snell died on 14th August 2007.

Item compiled by David Fell with photo from my archive

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