Back To 1931-40







1. Name
Eric Donald McIVER
2. Date Commissioned
1 January 1934
3. Date retired
Killed in action 14 April 1940
4. Rank
Captain RM
5. Awarded wings
May 1938
6. Flying schools
RAF Leuchars 12 September 1937
7. Aircraft types flown
Fighters. Hart Variants. Skua
8. Squadrons
803 Sqdn. 6.11.39
9. Aircraft Carriers
Furious 23 July 1938 - 15 October 1938
Ark Royal
10. Senior Appointments
Mentioned in despatches (Posthumous 25 June 1940)
12. General

Captain McIver was like several other RM pilots who had qualified just before the outbreak of WWII and were already in first line squadrons. He was in very early action against the Germans in Norway as a senior pilot in 803 Squadron led by Lieutenant Bill Lucy RN. He took part in the epic raid on 9 April 1940 when two Skua squadrons, 800 led by Captain Partridge RM and 803 led by Lieutenant Lucy flew from Hatston in the Orkney Isles to Bergen in Norway to attack the German cruiser Konigsberg. The Skuas scored three direct hits and at the time it was stated that McIver's bombs scored a hit between the funnels. The ship blew up, broke in two and capsized and sank within ten minutes. Only one Skua was lost on this raid.

These raids continued almost daily but unfortunately on 14 April during a raid on shipping in Bergen in appalling weather, McIver dropped his bombs with great skill but failed to return and was presumed killed. He was later awarded a posthumous "mention in despatches".

The attrition rate was very high during these early days of the war and the campaign is well described by one pilot as "The most dreadful affair. fought with the carriers too far off-shore under the most ad hoc conditions with out of date aircraft, and as yet no real inkling of the proper use of naval aviation". In addition to fighting from the carriers, the Skuas flew again and again at extreme range from Hatston to bomb installations in the Bergen area. These raids continued through the summer with the Skuas flying at their extreme range so that on some occasions pilots had to force land in Norway and escape with the help of the Norwegian underground.


13. R.A.F Rank Flying Officer