Joseph Serge Yvan Roland Laporte DFC (2) was born in Montreal, and on September 8, 1939, enlisted in the RCAF there. He graduated as a pilot, on August 20,1941, from No. 6. Service Flying Training School at Dunnville, Ontario.
After some time on duty in Canada he was posted overseas to the UK and after receiving further training was posted to No. 425 (Alouette) Squadron, Bomber Command.
For Bomber Command air crew, there was a low probability of surviving and returning safely, from all of their tour of 30 missions over enemy held Europe. Over 60 per cent of air crew who began a tour of 30 missions would lose their lives before completing the 30 missions.
Regardless of the terrible odds, bomber crews buckled on their parachutes and began each mission with determination. They fell prey to the hazards of fog, icing and lightning, and they perished amongst the bursting shells of anti-aircraft guns.
However, the greatest number died in the desperately unequal combat and the overwhelming firepower of tenacious German night fighter defenders. Over 9,900 Canadians in Bomber Command air crew, sacrificed their lives fighting for freedom and against dictatorship and autocracy.
On each bombing mission there were many who crashed after being hit by flak or enemy fighter action. Some airmen survived the crashes, others were rescued at sea, and some were taken prisoner.
A great many of those who died never had a chance to bail out. They perished when their aircraft loaded with 11 tons of explosives and high octane gas either exploded in the air or on impact with the ground. Others were killed when they plumetted 6 to 8 kilometres to the ground after their parachutes caught fire from their burning aircraft.
However, Laporte beat the odds and in March 1945, after many dangerous and risky bombing attacks against heavily defended enemy targets he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) for his skill and gallantry.
Later, on another bombing attack against Hagen, his bomber was so badly damaged, he he and his crew were forced to bail out. For his courage, coolness and resolve, during this dangerous situation, he was awarded a second DFC. His citation reads in part as follows:
« …The target was successfully attacked, but whilst photographs of the bombing were taken, the aircraft was hit several times by anti-aircraft fire. A little later the bomber was engaged by two enemy fighters. The enemy came in with guns blazing. Flight Lieutenant Laporte’s aircraft was struck by a stream of bullets. Considerable damage was sustained.
The starboard engine burst into flames. A fire commenced in the fuselage but it was extinguished by a member of the crew. Unfortunately the flames in the burning engine could not be controlled. It became imperative to abandon the aircraft. Flight Lieutenant Laporte gave the necessary order.
Ammunition was exploding intermittently as his comrades jumped. In these harassing moments, Flight Lieutenant Laporte, who had been struck by a bullet which passed through both his elbows, displayed great coolness, remaining at the controls until his crew members were clear. As he was preparing to leave, an explosion occurred. F/L Laporte was thrown to the floor. He got clear of the debris, however and jumped to safety. »