Jacques Morin avait aussi son porte-bonheur

Un très bel hommage de la plume de Jacques Gagnon.

Jacques Morin avait aussi son porte-bonheur

Comme de très nombreux autres aviateurs, Jacques Morin ne partait jamais en mission sans son fétiche ou porte-bonheur. Cet objet précieux, un chapelet en corne de pied de veau, il le possède toujours.

Rencontrer ce valeureux mitrailleur de queue est toujours un événement, à un point tel que je n’avais encore jamais pensé à m’informer s’il respectait cette tradition. Lundi dernier, le 13 avril, j’ai eu un flash, ce qui a provoqué une autre histoire dont seul Jacques Morin a le secret. Il suffisait d’ouvrir la porte.

Lorsque je lui pose la question sur un possible fétiche, il répond oui sans hésiter: «Un chapelet». Il se lève, prend sa marchette et se dirige vers sa chambre. Je l’entends fouiller dans un tiroir. Il revient avec un étrange chapelet, d’un genre que ni ma conjointe, Colette, ni moi avons jamais vu.

«J’ai toujours gardé ça avec moi. C’est un peu comme le pitt-pitt des alouettes que je mettais après ma signature.»

Si le chapelet est spécial, la croix l’est également avec une tête de mort et des ossements aux pieds du Christ.  «C’est ma mère qui me l’avait donnée avant que je parte pour la guerre. Je l’avais accrochée au chapelet. Quant au chapelet comme tel, c’est le deuxième aumônier des alouettes qui me l’avait donné. C’était un jeune qui avait remplacé l’autre plus âgé. Je lui avais dit que je perdais toujours mon chapelet et que c’est une affaire que j’aime à traîner avec moi. Il m’a dit : Je vais t’en donner un et celui-là tu ne le perdras jamais.  Je ne l’ai jamais perdu.»

«C’est précieux. Ça fait plus de 70 ans que je l’ai. C’est dans mon tiroir. C’est solide. Ça c’est les Alouettes (le chapelet), ça c’est ma mère (la croix). Ç’a été fait en Afrique, en Tunisie.»

Peu de gens l’ont vu

Il reconnaît que peu de gens ont vu ce chapelet. Il est d’ailleurs d’accord pour qu’on puisse le photographier lors de notre prochaine visite.

À une question de Colette, il explique que le petit cœur qui relie le chapelet aux mailles menant à la croix, est également fabriqué en corne.

L’histoire du chapelet ne s’arrête pas là. «Quand je suis revenu et que maman est morte, j’avais mis la croix dans sa tombe. Après je l’ai enlevée et je l’ai rattachée après le chapelet.»

Les souvenirs de ce vétéran réservent toujours des surprises. C’est ainsi qu’il raconte que sa mère avait été associée à un moment aux Sœurs servantes. «À leur mort, elles étaient habillées dans leurs tombes avec un costume de moine, de couleur brun, avec une ceinture noire et de grandes manches. Quand ma mère est morte, on a sorti son costume de religieuse et on l’a placé sur le lit. Il y avait une cornette un peu comme celles de la Congrégation de Notre-Dame.»

Il faisait des grimaces

De confidence en confidence, le voici de retour à son poste de mitrailleur. Il avoue qu’il implorait souvent sa mère dans les moments critiques. «Maman, ton Coco est mal pris; il fait des grimaces.»

Les retours au sol étaient toujours pénibles lorsque s’amorçait la période de décompression. «Quand on sortait après le bombardement, on s’assoyait dans le camion de transport, je fumais. On ne pouvait pas fumer en haut à cause de l’oxygène. Là je fumais deux cigarettes et là, je braillais.»

Il s’arrête un instant, ému. Son chat, Coco, comme son surnom, en profite pour sauter sur lui et le sortir de son rêve.

Il reprend son récit. «Je ne parlais pas à personne. Les gars arrivaient un après l’autre. Je ne leur demandais pas comment ça allait. C’était chacun nos affaires, on gardait tout ça en dedans.»

Jamais encore Jacques Morin n’avait fouillé aussi profondément dans ses souvenirs. C’est touchant. C’est émouvant. Ça l’est d’autant plus qu’il évite de discuter de son passé militaire avec ses enfants parce qu’il ne veut  pas qu’ils le prennent en pitié et se rendent ainsi tristes et malheureux.

Le Jacques Morin frondeur reprend le dessus. «On n’avait pas le droit d’emporter rien dans nos poches, même pas un paquet de cigarettes. On devait évidemment emporter les photos pour nos cartes d’identité.  Moi j’avais un case en métal de Ronson (fabricant de briquets) qui contenait 10 cigarettes. C’était interdit… mais j’aurais pu facilement m’en débarrasser en cas de difficultés.»

Fin des documentaires

Il ne regarde plus les documentaires sur la guerre. Cela l’angoisse et lui fait revivre certaines de ses missions. Il dort mal et se retrouve en rêve dans le feu l’action. Il vient en sueur et se sent mal. Cet état dure deux jours. «Je ne suis plus capable de voir ça même s’il s’agit d’événements différents de ce que j’ai vécu.»

Il regarde cependant ses souvenirs et ses albums de photos. Il regarde aussi à l’occasion des vidéos montées par Pierre Lagacé.

Au moment de partir, Jacques Morin déclare, un sourire en coin : «Moi avec ma grande gueule je ne vous ai pas laissé parler.»

J’aurais pu lui répondre : «Lorsqu’on a l’inestimable privilège d’avoir devant soi un personnage de cette envergure, on se la ferme, on l’écoute et on boit ses paroles.»

Jacques  Gagnon

425 Squadron Nose Art – Research done by Clarence Simonsen

Hello Pierre,

All my best for a happy Easter, and attached is what I completed during the holiday.
This is the best I can do on the 425 Halifax data base, from what files I still have. Please expect a few errors, but it will give you a reference to work from.

Today there are hundreds of 425 log books, and photos, in Quebec, Ontario, and the Maritimes, which need to be copied and saved for future historians. The Halifax is the bomber that most French/Canadians gave their life in and the best nose art images were painted on. Maybe you can carry on from where I left off. I would love to save the history of the 425 nose artists, and this is one area I have had very little luck.

Cheers –

Clarence

Ce diaporama nécessite JavaScript.

No. 425 [Alouette] French/Canadian Squadron RCAF WWII

Formed at Dishforth, Yorkshire, England, 25 June 1942, they were designated French/Canadian a unique formation within the RCAF. From December 1943, until the end of the war in Europe they flew the Handley-Page B. Mk. III aircraft on tactical bombing operations. During this period of time they were based at Tholthorpe, Yorkshire, No. 62 [RCAF] Base, and this is where the most impressive French/Canadian Halifax nose art was inspired and painted on the bombers.

KW-A                     MZ683                  

Possibly painted with « Alley-Oop. » Pilot Sgt. M. Lavoie was landing on three engines, swung and crashed into Halifax MZ618 [KW-J] and LW680 [KW-U] which was loaded with bombs. 27/28 June 44, burnt. All crew were rescued.

KW-A                     LK798                   

Nose art « Alouette » with flying lark. 8/9 May 44, target Haine St. Pierre, Pilot F/O L. White and navigator P/O J. Lefebre were killed. POW’s -Sgt. J. Chant [RAF] F/Engineer, Sgt. J. Aubry, bomb aimer, W/O 2nd class A. Cormier, Wireless, Sgt. R. Brown, Mid-under, Sgt. J. Beluse, Mid-upper, and rear gunner, F/Sgt. J. McConnell.

KW-B                     LW381                 

9/10 August 44, over Nieppe, F/O N. Streight and crew attacked by Me109, no damage.

KW-B                     NR252                  

Nose art name « Bang on! » with 37 Maple Leafs for operation flown. arrived new with 425 Sqn. on 23 November 1944, for disposal 6 May 45. Flown by Francois Savard to graveyard at Clinton, 14 May 45. Not struck off charge by RAF until 16 May 1948.

KW-C                     MZ815                  

Failed to return Hemmingstedt, 8 March 1945. Crew were all killed without any trace. Pilot P/O W. Corbett, P/O G. Forsyth, [RAF] P/O J. Hickson, F/O V. McAllister, P/O G. Ware, P/O J. Morin and P/O L. Parent, six RCAF.

KW-C                     LW428                 

Failed to return Berlin, 24/25 March 1944. Pilot P/O N. Jones and crew all killed. Sgt. G. Mabbott, [RAF] P/O M. Latornell, P/O M. McLeod, P/o J. Laviolette, P/O J. Bouchard, and P/O J. Tracey.

KW-C                     MZ418                  

Shot down by Me.262 [jet] Hamburg, 31 March 1945. Pilot F/Lt. Charles Lesesne [American] killed by mob of German females manning flak tower. POW’s – Sgt. J. Tame, [RAF], F/Sgt. J. Hilliard, F/O W. Cable, P/O R. Pigeon, W/02 R. Trudeau, and the nose artist F/Sgt. F. King.

KW-D                     LW379                 

1/2 Nov. 44, Oberhausen, pilot F/Lt. M. Dugas and crew failed to return. One member killed P/O J. Savoie, RCAF. Six POW »s – F/Sgt. J. Carrier, F/Lt. H. Goodman, F/O J. St. Arnaud, W/O 2 J. Ranger, P/O J. Crispin, and F/Sgt. J. Federico.

KW-E                      MZ860                  

5/6 January 45, lost over Hannover, two crew killed – P/O J. Piche, and P/O J. Lamarre, five became POW’s – Pilot F/Sgt. J. Cauchy, Sgt. E. Faulkner, F/O J. Lesperance, Sgt. R. Cantin, and F/Sgt. J. Cote.        

KW-E                      MZ419                  

« Easy Rides at Night » first flew No. 433 Sqn. 10 September 44, then to 425 Sqn. on 3 January 1945. Pilot P/O Miller was attacked by Fw-190 8/9 April 45, nose damaged on Halifax. Disposal 25 May 45, scrapped 1 June 45.

KW-F                                                    

Red Fox with bomb nose art.

KW-G                     LW417                 

22.23 March 44, Frantfurt, Pilot P/O C. Tindall and four crew killed. Sgt. J. Patten, [RAF] F/O K. Duffield, P/O C. Hay and P/O D. Pulham. POW – Sgt. R. Quinlan and Sgt. J. Brine.

KW-G                     MZ573                  

24/25 April 44, target Karlsruhe, pilot P/O J. Wells, and crew failed to return. One killed – P/O G. Boucher. POW’s Sgt. J. Railton, [RAF] F/Sgt. H. Mooney, F/Lt. C. Maddin, Sgt. W. Walker, and P/O S. Hunt. One evader – Sgt. P. Draper.

KW-G                     NA518                  

Transferred to No. 187 RAF Squadron, off Charge 11 May 1945.

KW-G                     MZ482                  

18/19 March 45, target Witten, they had a mid-air with a Mosquito fighter No. 515 Squadron, only the rear gunner F/Sgt. B. Balyx, survived. Killed in Action – P/O L. Hinch, F/O F. Irwin, P/O J. Wilson, F/O G. le Jambe and F/Sgt. A. Banks, all RCAF.

KW-H                     MZ672                  

« Honey Chile », [see story on Mid-Under gunner Donald Doucette] Came from No. 429 Squadron on 10 July 1944, to No. 1666 HCU on 9 November 1944, then to No. 1664 HCU on 1 January 1945. Disposal on 14 April 45, scrapped 15 May 45.

KW-H                     LW477                 

16/17 Jan. 45, P/O W. Corbett and crew were attacked by a Me410 on raid to Magdeburg.

KW-I                      NA518                  

1/2 Feb. 45, bombed Mainz and lost outer starboard engine, landed on three.

KW-J                      LW390                 

Failed to return Stuttgart, 25 Feb. 44.

KW-J                      LL547                   

Transferred to No. 644 Sqn. disposed 22 Feb. 1947.

KW-J                      LW391                 

Failed to return Duisburg, 15 Nov. 44.

KW-J                      MZ618                  

« Old Bill » Hit by MZ683 landing 28 June 44, burnt with LW680 [KW-U].

KW-J                      NR194                  

Hit trees landing 25 March 1945. W/O 2 M. Lavoie and crew landed on two good engines, overshot and did a wheels up in a grass field. No injuries to crew.

KW-J                      LW417                 

Failed to return Frankfurt, 23 March 44.

KW-J                      MZ845                 

Collided with Halifax from 420 Squadron OW-A, PN228, [mid-air] and crashed Nun Monkton Grange, bombs exploded, burnt. Six crew were killed – pilot P/O M. Anderson, P/O J. Roy, P/O J. Beaudry, F/O R. Charron, F/Sgt. J. Seguim, and P/O J. Pelletier. Wireless operator F/Sgt. A. De Cruyenaere bailed out and survived.

KW-J                      LW632                

Transferred to 21 HCU in May 45, disposed 14 March 1947.

KW-J                      NR178                 

Failed to return Hannover, 5/6 January 1945. Killed were P/O G. Noonan, and Sgt. B. Simonin. POW’s – pilot F/O J. Seguin, F/O J. Bilodeau, Sgt. J. Cantin, P/O J. Lapierre, and F/Sgt. J. Huet.

KW-K                     LL595                   

To No. 1664 HCU, Flown by Francois Savard to graveyard 14 May 45. 20 min. flight. Disposed by RAF 14 March 1947.

KW-K                     LW415                 

Failed to return St. Ghislain, 2 May 44.                       

KW-M                    MZ954                  

Pilot F/O C. Dionne and crew hit by flak over Wanne-Eickel, 12 October 1944. Transferred to No. 187 squadron RAF, Struck off charge 22 Nov. 1946.

KW-N                     MZ364                  

F/O J. Bellinger and crew were attacked by Fw190, rear gunner Sgt. C. Wilson was seriously injured. Target was Castrop-Rauxel, 21/22 November 1944.

KW-N                     MZ674                  

F/Lt. J. Galipeau and crew failed to return from Duisberg, 14 October 1944. Four killed – Sgt. F. Eade, F/O D. Butler, F/Sgt. L. Hogg, Sgt. J. Pare, and Sgt. C. Crabtree. POW’s – F/Sgt. C. Williamson, F/Sgt. J. Bazinet, and Sgt. J. Pare.

KW-N                     LW391                 

Failed to return Duisburg, 15 November 1944.

KW-N                     NR271                  

The famous « Nuts for Nazis » flown by French/ American Charles P. Lesesne, last member of 425 to be killed in squadron WWII. Chuck shot down in MZ418, on Easter 31 March 1945. He was beaten to death by female German flak gunners and left to bleed to death. His Halifax bomber completed seven more operations and was sent for disposal on 6 May 45. Scrapped 14 May 45.

KW-O                     LW633                 

22/23 April 44, Dusseldorf, pilot P/O J. Brisson and crew shot down by night fighter, five were killed – Sgt. I. Welch, F/O E. Fortin, P/O J. Legault, and P/O J. Hurteau. Two POW’s – W/O 2nd Class J. Davidson, and F/O J. Desrosiers.

KW-O                     MZ621                  

4/5 Nov. 44, target Bochum, hit by load of incendiaries over the target, one engine caught fire, returned safely to base on three engines. Pilot F/O J. Desmarais.

KW-P                     NR136                  

Survived war, off charge RAF 15 May 1946.

KW-Q                     PN173                  

5/6 March 45, failed to return from raid to Chemnitz. Killed were pilot – F/O J. Desbiens, P/O A. Minguet, and F/Sgt. H. D’Avril. POW’s – F/Sgt. G. Tremblay, F/O J. Parent, F/Sgt. G. Langevin, and F/Sgt. L. Lamontagne.

KW-Q                     LW715                 

Failed to return Boulogne, 16 June 1944.

KW-Q                     LW413                 

Crashed into houses Adelaide St., Brierley Hill, Staffs, after abandoned by crew 16 March 1944.

KW-Q                     NP957                  

Survives today [nose art] in War Museum, Ottawa. First served with No. 427 Sqn. 13 September 1944, to 429 Sqn. on 1 March 1945, then to 425 on 16 March 45, flying ten operations and received nose art « Ville de Quebec » from crew of P/O Kolisnek, who flew her eight operations. Disposal 6 May 45, scrapped 14 May 45.

KW-R                     LW429                 

30/31 March 44, Nurnberg, pilot F/O J. Taylor and crew all killed. Sgt. P. Furlong, [RAF] F/O G. Munro, P/O F. Majchrowicz, P/O J. Sheahan, P/O A. De Witt, and F/Sgt. P. Mitchell.

KW-R                     MZ495                  

18/19 March 45, shot down on raid to Witten, killed was Sgt. P. Panasuk, pilot P/O C. Racicot and five crew became POW’s. F/O R. Marc-Aurele, F/Sgt. J. Demouchel. F/Sgt. M. Depot, F/Sgt. E. Gregory, and F/Sgt. R. Le Boeuf, all RCAF.

KW-R                     NR196                  

Nose Art of pin-up and name « Rita ». First flew with No. 427 Sqn. 28 October 44, then to No. 429 Sqn. on 13 November 44, to 425 Sqn. on 18 March 1945. Disposal 6 May 45, scrapped 14 May 45.

KW-S                      LL591                   

12 October 44, pilot F/O T. MacKinnon and crew hit by flak.

KW-S                      MZ454                  

Crashed at Little Ouseburn, Yorkshire, after losing control during tale-off, due to icing, burnt.    Killed were pilot – F/O A. Lowe, Sgt. J. Lynch, F/O P. Hall and P/O J. Hyde, all crew were RCAF. Survivors who bailed out before crash – F/O E. Brabbins, F/O J. Brownell, and F/Sgt. K. McCuaig.

KW-S                      NA201                  

Transferred to No. 415 Squadron, off charge RAF 14 October 1945.

KW-T                      LW591                 

24/25 April 44, Pilot F/O J. L’Abbe, and crew were shot down, one killed W/O 1st class J. Michaud. POW’s – F/O T. Gravel and Sgt. H. Girard. Evaders – F/O W. Whalen, Sgt. J. Michaud, and Sgt. A. Best.

KW-T                      MZ602                  

Transferred to No. 431 Squadron, missing Versailles-Matelots, 8 June 1944.

KW-T                      LW424                 

Swung on three engine landing at Tholthorpe, crashed, 8 Feb. 1944.

KW-T                      MZ620                  

23/24 October 44, Essen, pilot F/Lt. H. Franks and crew attacked by Fw190.

KW-T                      NP937                  

Pilot F/O J. Giquere attacked by German Me-163 on 8/9 April 45.      P

KW-U                     LW431                 

25/26 Feb. 44, Augsburg, pilot F/Sgt. C. Stowell and crew shot down. One killed RAF Flight engineer Sgt. S. Wheadon. POW’s F/Sgt. R. Friskey, Sgt. G. Dinsmore, W/O 2nd J. Fullum, Sgt. W. Skerik and Sgt. R. Curnock.

KW-U                     LL594                   

Nose art 1942 « Allen Cup ». 5 August 1944, target V-1 site at St. Leu d’ Esserent, France. Hit by flak over target, pilot S/L G. Philbin and Sgt. C. Hilliard bailed out. Six were killed – F/Sgt. W. Gracie, P/O R. Reed, P/O T. Lee, F/O L. Stamp, [RAF] F/O G. Beresford, [RAF] and W/O B. Clark [RAF].

KW-U                     LL596                   

Nose art of Hitler in boxing ring, name – « U’ll Knock Him Out !!! » Flew 36 operations went to No. 1664 HCU. Operations are shown as letter « U ».

KW-U                     MZ425                  

« Little LuLu » name only. First flew No. 433 Sqn. 18 September 44, then to 425 on 3 January 45. Flew 16 operations Disposal 17 May 45, scrapped 30 May 45.

KW-U                     LV860                   

Flew with four RCAF squadrons then came to No. 425 Sqn. on 16 April 1945. Carried the nose art « Spook ‘N Droop » from No. 427 Squadron. Had an accident with 425 Sqn. on 21 April 45 and never flew operations. Disposal 31 May 45, scrapped 8 June 45.

KW-V                     LW425                 

24/25 March 44, Berlin, pilot P/O L. Renaud and crew all killed shot down by night fighter. Sgt. J. Nutman, F/O J. Brazeau, P/O M. Boyer, P/Or. Hanks, P/O C. Turner, and P/O J. Huot.

KW-V                     MZ538                  

18 December 1944, crashed after take-off due to icing. All crew killed. Pilot F/O J. Desmarais, P/O J. Blackburn [RAF], F/O J. Bernier, P/O J. Labrecque, P/O J. Dubois, F/Sgt. J. Paradis, F/Sgt. J. Larivier, and P/O R. Gauthier.

KW-V                     NP939                  

P/O J. Giquere and crew lost two engines, 19 March 45, target Witten. Landed at Handy Grass. F/Sgt. R. Kelusky [wireless/oper.] was injured.

KW-W                    NP999                  

Failed to return Hannover, 5/6 January 1944. Killed was flight/engineer RAF, P/O S. Moore. Six RCAF crew survived – pilot F/O V. Brimicombe, F/O L. Coleman, F/O M. Berry, F/Sgt. G. Delong, F/Sgt. D. MacKeigan, and F/Sgt. G. Hutton.

KW-W                    LL582                   

12 October 44, pilot F/O G. Lareau and crew hit by flak over target Wanne-Eickel.

KW-X                     LL594                   

Failed to return St. Leu d’Esserent, 5 August 1944.

KW-X                     NA634                  

1/2 November 1944, target Oberhausen, pilot F/O P. Legault attacked by a Me110, port flap was shot off, and damage to fuselage which was riddled with exploding shrapnel. 4/5 November 44, F/O W. Forman and crew fired on by Fw190, over Bochum.

KW-Y                     LK810                   

22/23 May 44, target Dortmund, Pilot P/O E. Laporte and crew shot down, one survived, Sgt. R. McGowan, killed – Sgt. N. Ward, F/O J. Tetrault, F/Sgt. J. Mallette, W/O 1st class J. Laing, and Sgt. J. Levasseur.

KW-Y                     NR-172                 

15/16 March 45, raid to Hagen, shot down and two killed were pilot P/O J. Patry, and F/O A. Fournier. They were killed by German civilians. POW’s were – Sgt. G. Odell, Sgt. J. Lanctot, W/O 1st class J. Paierment, F/Sgt. C. Panneton and F/Sgt. J. Goupil.

KW-Y                     MZ714                  

Nose art name only « Yetta ». Came to 425 Sqn. on 27 May 1944 and flew until 2 Feb 1945. Transferred to No. 187 squadron 2 Feb. 45 and disposal on 16 Feb. 45. Scrapped 24 Feb. 1945.

KW-Z                      MZ831                  

F/O D. Smith [pilot] failed to return from 4/5 Nov. 44 to Bochum. One killed – flight engineer [RAF] Sgt. W. Clowes. POW – F/O L. Jamieson, F/O E. Knorr, Sgt. R. Ford, F/Sgt. A. Limacher, and F/Sgt. R. Gale all RCAF.

KW-Z                      LW394                 

8/9 Feb. 45, had the starboard outer engine catch fire after hit by flak over target Wanne-Eickel, would not feather, then crew bailed out over Belguim. Pilot – F/O W. Mark, Sgt. J. Whyte, [RAF] P/O R. Daniels, F/O W. Wotherspoon, F/Sgt. W. Ketcham, P/O A. McLean, F/Sgt. H. Sanderson, and F/Sgt. A. Alger

KW-Z                      LW381                 

« Bull Head » flew 62 Ops. 12 Dec. 1943 until 7 November 1944. Went to 1666 HCU [Heavy conversion Unit] 12 Nov. 44 and to No. 1664 HCU on 1 December 44. Disposal 20 April 1945, scrapped No. 45 MU 28 April 1945.

425 Halifax Nose Art - Logo


 425 Halifax Nose Art - KW-A

 

Impressive nose art of flying lark with squadron nickname Alouette which was adopted in October 1942. The squadron motto is also painted « Je te plumerai » [I shall pluck you]. A very impressive 66 operations are shown as this was truly a veteran bomber. I’m sure the code letter was KW-A but the serial is not known. MZ683 carried the code letter « A » but this Halifax arrived with the squadron in May 1944, and struck Halifax LW680 on 28 June 1944 while landing and both burnt.

425 Halifax Nose Art - KW-A Alley-Oop

This is believed to be KW-A ‘Alley-Oop » [MZ683] which crashed into LW680 [KW-U] and MZ610 [KW-J] on landing 28 June 1944 and three aircraft burnt. This was the original Halifax « A » which was then replaced with the above « Alouettee » aircraft and became the new KW-A.

 425 Halifax Nose Art - KW-A Alley-Oop 2

        MZ683 built 15 May 1944, crashed 28 June 44. [serial not confirmed]

 

« Bang on! » KW-B, serial NR252, built between 4 to 18 November 1944, delivered new to No. 425, 23 November 1944, flew 37 operations marked with Maple Leafs. Sent for disposal 6 May 1945, struck off charge by RAF 16 May 1948. Has a DFC ribbon under pilot widow.

425 Halifax Nose Art - KW-B

KW-E, « Easy Rides at Night » serial MZ419. Built 3 August to 9 September 1944, delivered first to No. 433 [Porcupine] Squadron 10 Sept. 44. Transferred to No. 425 on 3 January 1945, ordered for disposal 25 May 1945, and scrapped 1 June 45.

425 Halifax Nose Art - KW-F

KW-F, a red fox holding a 500 lb. bomb, with 42 operations show as bomb bursts and letter « F » inside each burst. Serial number is not known.

 425 Halifax Nose Art - KW-F Honey Chile

KW-H, serial MZ672 « Honey Chile » full story and photos in Donald Doucette story.

 

 425 Halifax Nose Art - KW-N

KW-N, « Nuts for Nazis » serial NR271, the story of French/American pilot Charles P. Lesesne.

425 Halifax Nose Art - Nuts for Nazis

This replica nose art was painted for Caitlin McWilliams, editor Canadian Aviation Historical Society newsletter, October 2010. It is painted on original skin from Halifax NA337, which today resides in Trenton, Ontario, RCAF Museum. It honors French/American Charles P. Lesesne, who flew and gave his life in No. 425 [Alouette] Squadron RCAF.

 

 

A second replica of French/Canadian 425 Squadron nose art was presented to the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.

425 Halifax Nose Art - Historian

425 Halifax Nose Art - KW-N missions

 425 Halifax Nose Art - Lesesne

 425 Halifax Nose Art - KW-O

« Old Bill » [LW467] KW-W

On 28 June 1944, Sgt. M. Lavoie was returning to base on three engines in Halifax MZ683, [KW-A] possibly with nose art of « Alley-Oop?’ On landing his Halifax swung and crashed into LW680, [KW-U] which was loaded with bombs as a spare aircraft. He then struck another Halifax MZ618 [KW-J] which had lust landed after the operation. It is believed KW-J was « Old Bill » with serial MZ618? The three aircraft caught fire and amid the huge fires and exploding bombs in KW-U all crew members were saved. Air Commodore A. Ross lost an arm from an exploding bomb and was awarded the George Cross. Other awards of bravery were awarded during this high risk rescue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 425 Halifax Nose Art - KW-Q

KW-Q, « Ville de Quebec », NP957. In War Museum Ottawa today.

425 Halifax Nose Art - KW-Q missions

KW-Q the only original French/Canadian Halifax nose art to survive today in the world. First served with No. 427 Squadron, 13 September 1944, to No. 429 Squadron on 1 March 1945, then to 425 Sqn. on 16 March 45. Completed ten operation with 425, eight flown by crew of P/O Kolisnek, [above] and the crew who picked the nose art painting. Disposal 6 May 45, flown to graveyard on 14 May and scrapped in a few weeks. The original nose art was saved by F/L Lindsay in mid-May 1945.

 425 Halifax Nose Art - KW-R

KW-R, « Rita » serial NR196, First flew with No. 427 [Lion] Sqn. [28 Oct. 44] then No. 429 [Bison] Sqn. on [13 Nov. 44] then to 425 on 18 March 1945. Completed 22 operations until 6 May 45, scrapped after 14 May 45.

425 Halifax Nose Art - KW-U

KW-U, « U’ll Knock Him Out !!! », serial LL596, built 8 July to 29 August 1944, flew 36 operations then sent to No. 1664 HCU. Struck off charge by RAF 13 December 1946.

425 Halifax Nose Art - KW-U Little Lulu

KW-U, serial MZ425, built 8 August to 17 Sept. 1944, first delivered to No. 433 [Porcupine] Squadron 18 Sept. 44, then to No. 425 on 3 January 1945. Flew 16 operations. For disposal on 17 May 45, scrapped 30 May 45. Nose art « Little LULU » originated with crew of S/L Don Rogers in No. 433 Sqn. but retained by crew in 425 squadron.

425 Halifax Nose Art - KW-U Spook and Droop

KW-U, LV860, flew with four RCAF squadrons before it was transferred to No. 425 on 3 January 1945. Came with nose art painted while it flew with No. 427 [Lion] Squadron. Had an accident with 425 on 21 April 45 and never completed any operations. Disposal on 31 May 45, scrapped 8 June 45.

425 Halifax Nose Art - Snoop and Droop

This replica nose art is painted on original WWII aircraft skin and today hangs in the « Military Museum’s » of Calgary, Alberta.

 

 

 425 Halifax Nose Art - Halifax KW-U serial LL594

This is the replica nose art of Halifax KW-U, serial LL594. and the story of F/Sgt. W. B. Gracie. She only flew four operations – 16 June 44 to Sautre Court, [4 hr. 15 min.], 23 June 44 to Bamiere [4 hrs. 30 min.], 3 August 44, to Foret de Nieppe [4 hr. 45 min.], and then shot down 5 August 44 to St. Leu d » Esserent.

425 Halifax Nose Art - Halifax KW-U, serial LL594 log book

His father’s log book, [F/Sgt. Bill Gracie] from Ken Cothliff. Halifax KW-U serial LL594 shot down.

 425 Halifax Nose Art - KW-Y

 

KW-Y, serial MZ714, built 13 May to 26 May 1944. Delivered to 425 Sqn. on 27 May 44, and flew until 2 Feb. 1945. She completed 75 trips which was two tours, ground crew then chalk marked [75 trips DFC and still going strong]. Transferred to No. 187 RAF Squadron, sent for disposal 16 Feb. 45, and scrapped 24 Feb. 1945.

425 Halifax Nose Art - KW-Y 75 trips

 

 

 425 Halifax Nose Art - KW-Z

 

KW-Z, built 27 October to 27 November 1943, delivered to No. 425 on 12 December 43. Flew 62 operations until 7 November 1944. Went to No. 1666 HCU [Heavy Conversion Unit]12 November 44, to No. 1664 HCU on 1 December 44 and for disposal 20 April 1945. Flown to 45 M.U. 28 April 45 and scrapped in mid-May 45.

The last mission of Jean-Paul Corbeil – Remembering the fallen

Jean-Paul Corbeil flew 37 missions during  WWII  in Europe.

wpid-pepin-avion.jpg

They are all entered in his log book.

This 92 year-old veteran had asked for my help to go on a last mission…

document JP Corbeil planche recto

front of the card

document JP Corbeil 002

back of the card

100 cards numbered and signed will be sent to 100 people around  the world in envelopes with  personalised stamps.

65 letters will be sent this week, one to the Queen whom he met personally in 1944 when her father King George VI visited Tholthorpe.

Ma dernière mission 006

Each card will be placed in a special  envelope with the crest of l’escadrille Alouette.

Ma dernière mission recto enveloppe

front  of the envelope

Ma dernière mission verso enveloppe

back of the envelope

A letter with a message and a special request to future  generations  will also accompany this card: remembering  the fallen.  

 Ma dernière mission 001

Ma dernière mission 003

35 more cards are just waiting to be sent.

Ma dernière mission 005

La dernière mission de Jean-Paul Corbeil – Le devoir de mémoire

Jean-Paul Corbeil a accompli 37 missions.

image

Elles sont toutes inscrites dans son log book.

L’ancien combattant de 92 ans voulait mon aide pour en réaliser une dernière.

document JP Corbeil planche recto

recto de la carte

document JP Corbeil 002

verso de la carte

100 cartes numérotées et signées seront envoyées à 100 personnes à travers le monde dans une enveloppe affranchie de timbres personnalisés.

Soixante-cinq personnes recevront la leur cette semaine dont  la Reine  d’Angleterre  qu’il avait rencontrée alors qu’elle  accompagnait son père George  VI  qui visitait  la base de Tholthorpe  dans le Yorkshire.

Ma dernière mission 006

Chaque carte sera mise dans une enveloppe portant au recto l’écusson de l’escadrille Alouette.

Ma dernière mission recto enveloppe

recto de l’enveloppe

Ma dernière mission verso enveloppe

verso de l’enveloppe

La carte sera également accompagnée d’un témoignage transmis aux générations futures: le devoir de mémoire.  

 Ma dernière mission 001

Ma dernière mission 003

Trente-cinq autres sont en attente…

Ma dernière mission 005

38th mission

Jean-Paul Corbeil’s 38th  mission will never be entered in his precious  log book.

logbook Jean-Paul Corbeil 012

He could  have been shot down on his second mission over Bourg-Léopold in Belgium. It would have been his last, and he would have become just a statistic among 19,000 other young  airmen. 

No descendants  to remember  him!

Jean-Paul Corbeil was  lucky to come back to his home town in Bonfield, Ontario, on November  1st, 1944, after a full  tour  of operations. I was  lucky to meet him in Laval in May 2010.

I vividly  recall what he told me. He played  with some words that can’t  be properly  translated in English.

Nous, ontarien… (Us, Ontarian… meaning We were nothing when we came back from the  war)

Je m’en souviens… Lest We  Forget…

My Final Mission

image

When  I  met  Jean-Paul  Corbeil  for  the  first  time  in 2010, he was 87 years-old.

He told  me back  then  he wished  he was  younger  because  he would  write  a  book  about  his life.

His  last  mission had been in the  back  of  his mind.

It  is  now over, and  this  young  man has just completed  a full tour  of operations.

Stay tuned.

38e mission

La 38e mission du mitrailleur Jean-Paul Corbeil ne sera jamais inscrite dans son précieux log book.

logbook Jean-Paul Corbeil 012

Il n’aurait pu jamais en accomplir une autre après sa 2e au-dessus de Bourg-Léopold en Belgique. Elle aurait été sa toute dernière et il serait devenu une sombre statistique: un nom parmi ceux des 19 000 jeunes aviateurs morts au champ  d’honneur.

Pas de descendance non plus!

Jean-Paul Corbeil a eu de la chance de revenir à Bonfield le 1er novembre 1944 après son tour d’opérations. J’ai eu la chance de le rencontrer à Laval au mois de mai 2010.

Je me rappellerai toujours de ses paroles.

Nous, ontarien…

Je m’en souviens…

425 Alouette 001