Any info re Joyce would be much appreciated as I am writing a book about him at present based on large cache of original wartime letters, documents, photos etc of Joyce's which I have access to.

Just an additional note. The use of primary material is important in recording the lives and exploits of anyone. In the case of Joyce, a ten victory ace, 9 in Hurricanes, 5 at night, 1 in a Mustang May 1944 (122 sqn) there is little written about him. However, he appears in Shores et al Mediterranean Air War and Stewart's Ten Squadrons of Hurricanes. In both publications he is said to have shot down his own CO at night, S/L Robin Johnston. Shores and Stewart quote that Joyce identified the intruder he was scrambled to intercept as a twin-engine aircraft, a Ju88. They comment on how on earth Joyce could confuse a Ju88 with a Hawker Hurricane and what's more it was his CO Robin Johnston flying it! Stewart writes: "How a pilot of Joyce's experience and ability could have mistaken a single-engined Hurricane for a twin-engined Ju88 is hard to imagine but this he undoubtedly did. And if that was not enough, the Hurricane he shot down was flown by Squadron Leader Johnston".

Firstly, Joyce's report of this incident in the 73 Sqn ORB Appendices clearly states he identified the aircraft as a single-engine enemy fighter. Thus the aircraft was not thought to be twin-engined. Secondly, the aircraft was not flown by S/L Johnston, it was flown by Sgt Johnson, who survived with lacerations and burns. I hope this incorrect information is not repeated again in future publications.

Another error in Stewart's book involves the captioned photograph of 940897 Sergeant Donald Roland Beard 73 Squadron... the caption reads: "Flight Sergeant Donald Beard, 73 Squadron's most successful night intruder pilot." This again is incorrect. Ernest Leslie 'Nipper' Joyce while flying with 73 Squadron shot down five Ju88s at night and damaged a Bf110. The press caught on at the time and labelled him the 'Cat's Eyes' of the desert. Beard appears to have shot down a Ju87 and 2 Ju88s at night and additionally damaged a Ju88.

Joyce's final tally appears to have been: 1 Ju88 damaged (day) with 3 Squadron, Hurricane, 1941. Then 5 Ju88s destroyed(all at night), 2 Bf109s and 2 CR42s destroyed (day), 2 Bf 109s probably destroyed (day), 3 Bf109s damaged, 2 Bf110s damaged (day) 1 Bf110 damaged (night) with 73 Squadron, Hurricanes, North Africa 1941-42. 1 He111 destroyed (day) with 122 Squadron, Mustang III, Frisian Is May 1944. In total 9 destroyed (5 at night), 2 probably destroyed, 8 damaged flying Hurricanes. 1 destroyed flying Mustangs. Thus 10 destroyed, 2 probables and 8 damaged. Not bad for a salesman from Hamilton, NZ in a Hurricane.

His score in Hurricanes is interesting for the fact his opposition in the Bf109F in North Africa, especially with Hans Joachim Marseilles on the prowl, was similar to Spitfire Vs vs Focke-Wulf 190s, a struggle to survive. Also the five defensive patrol night victories, four in a Hurricane IIc and one in a Hurricane 1 are very hard to achieve in a single-seat fighter with no radar aboard. There is no doubt Nipper's uncanny eyesight both at night and in the day helped him survive and win his battles for so long... 267 sorties.

Hopefully, finding a publisher being the problem, I will be able to put 'Nipper' Joyce's story out there and at least get some justified recognition of this little-known NZ day and night fighter ace.