Le jour du Souvenir 2015

Écrit par un collaborateur en 2015…

Un oubli de ma part pour ce jour-là du Souvenir.


Collaboration spéciale



Les deux photos furent prises le même jour à quelques secondes d’intervalle, durant une journée très froide d’hiver à Tholthorpe.

Notez le givre sur l’avant du « Nissen Hut » qui abritait les aviateurs. À l’arrière, près du poêle, et sur la surface supérieure de la hutte, il y a juste assez de chaleur pour faire fondre le givre.

Il est notoire que ces huttes était froides et humides en hiver et que les petits poêles ne suffisaient pas à la tâche.  Les O.R.B.’s notent aussi des plaintes au sujet du charbon qui alimentaient ces appareils de chauffage.  Il arrivait que pendant quelques jours il y avait pénurie de ce combustible, ce qui rendait les huttes très inconfortables et invivables.

Cet incident semble avoir beaucoup fait rigoler Euloge Bouchard et Charles Numainville, membres de l’équipage Lafrenière.

Frederick Henry King qui tient la chaise et qui d’après le texte semble être en partie responsable de cet incident s’est joint à l’équipage Charles Lesesne au mois de décembre 1944 après la mort de Maurice Paradis lors du crash de l’équipage Desmarais le 18 décembre 1944.



This is what this blog was all about when I started it in 2010.

So many people wanted to remember those who fought for freedom  and fought  against tyranny like Joseph Thomas Kallal who did and who came back.

17,000 young  Canadian airmen did not.

Halifax crash

I write so people can remember, and share what those who came back never talked about or said so little…

Georges Tremblay

Joseph  Thomas  Kallal  with his crew might have been part of those 17,000 young Canadians…

Click  here.


Pilot – WO2 Paul-Nazaire Poirier RCAF (R/112271)

Remembering  by sharing…


Collection  Rodolphe  Lafrenière  via André  Lafrenière  

Qui se souvient? Who remembers?

Le fils de Rodolphe Lafrenière qui partage cette  photo et un article de journal en souvenir de l’équipage de son père et des Alouettes.

The son of Rodolphe Lafrenière who sent this picture with a newspaper article.


Douglas (Doyle) Hansen, Rodolphe  Lafrenière et Euloge  Bouchard au Stonefall Cemetery de Harrogate en 1986



Tholthorpe Reunion

Over the last weekend the village of Tholthorpe has seen its greatest influx of visitors in over forty years, when Canadian veterans of the four RCAF Squadrons which flew Halifax Bombers from the airbase from 1943 – 45 returned for a reunion. 431 (Iroquois) and 434 (Bluenose) squadrons served at Tholthorpe for six months from January 1943 before moving to Croft when they were replaced by 420 (Snowy Owl) and 425 (Alouette). Alouette was largely French Canadian. The mastermind behind the reunion was farmer Geoff Wood from Tholthorpe, who ever since childhood, watching and counting the bombers had been a dedicated aviation enthusiast. Over the years any Canadian veteran who returned to Tholthorpe was always directed to Geoff’s house where a warm reception was always assured, and a record kept of each visitor. Three years ago he was invited to an RCAF reunion in Toronto where the veterans of the four Canadian Squadrons were meeting and it was here that Geoff suggested a reunion in Tholthorpe.

Geoff volunteered to carry out arrangements in Tholthorpe whilst a committee was formed in Canada to co-ordinate arrangements. The organisers thought the event might attract a couple of hundred veterans and relatives but were absolutely staggered when over six hundred registered. Every day since Christmas Geoff has virtually had to leave the running of the farm to his son Paul and concentrate on the sheer slog of running a reunion on this scale. From morning till night he and a small committee from the village have written, posted, telephoned, pleaded, cajoled, liaised with Canada and dealt with the thousand and one things that are never obvious to the causal spectator. It is a tribute to Geoff’s organising genius that everything went off like clockwork, with no hitches.

Earlier in the week the villagers had tided an already tidy village green putting up flag poles to hold the flags of every Canadian state, and flagpoles on the airfield forming a lane with Chris Robinson’s barn where the refreshments were served on the Saturday afternoon. All the former sites were clearly labelled as were the former runways.

The reunion fired up on the Friday with registration in the Village where each of the participants was given an individual stamped badge with the title of the event, the person’s name, an abbreviation of his job at Tholthorpe (eg AG – Air Gunner) and the name and number of the Squadron they served in.

On the Saturday morning they all attended a service at York Minster when a page of the Air Force Book of Remembrance was turned. In the afternoon it was back to Tholthorpe for the main event of the weekend, the unveiling and dedication of a memorial on the village green to men of the Royal Canadian Air Force. The memorial in Canadian granite has the inscription in both English and French and is perfectly aligned North and South so that each has an equal amount of sunlight. Shortly before 3 p.m. the Canadian veterans and some English ones who served with them paraded around the village green headed by the band of the Royal Air Force Regiment playing the Dambusters March, and came to a halt in front of the flag veiled memorial, where the introductions and service was conducted by former 425 Alouette pilot Sammy Milliker from Ottawa, a veteran with 37 missions flown out of Tholthorpe. He introduced Geoff Wood who welcomed all the veterans back to Tholthorpe and thanked them for their part in the defence of freedom and liberty.

The memorial was then unveiled by Air Vice Marshal – Donald Bennett, the founder and commander of the elite wartime Pathfinder force whose job it was to mark to enemy targets ahead of the main bomber force. He spoke of the sacrifices and dedication; a nation with a single purpose, a pulling together and contrasted it with today’s lack of purpose and pulling apart. Padre Ted Light (72) who served at Tholthorpe in 1944 dedicated the memorial.

There was a beautifully played legato version of the Last Post and a lament from a Canadian piper. In the village hall there was an exhibition of photographs and memorabilia whilst in the Chapel there was a 4 film show of the RCAF in the last war with one of the films ‘The Alouettes’ filmed largely at Tholthorpe. Then it was a brisk walk down to the airfield, along the ‘peri’ track to Chris Robinson’s barn where refreshments provided by the people of Tholthorpe were served to over six hundred people. Even the bar was staffed by Tholthorpions. Also in the barn were various items of interest, a replica of a four gun rear turret as used in the Halifax bomber and Mr Turner’s large scale model of a Mark III Halifax, along with plans, maps etc. also the instrument panel of a heavy bomber.

In the evening there was a banquet and dance attended by over five hundred people where Geoff Wood received a standing ovation for his outstanding organisational ability that had made the event such an out-standing success.

Next day they visited the Stonefall Cemetery at Harrogate where the Canadian airmen are buried and in the afternoon visited the Church Fenton Air Display. The weekend was rounded off with a farewell gettogether at the Viking Hotel in York.

Whilst it is very difficult to say what the casualties were at Tholthorpe during the War, we can get some idea from the fate of one of the Squadrons. 431 Iroquois between January 1943 and May 1945 Iost the equivalent of 2 full squadrons, there were twenty aircraft in a squadron and seven men in each crew, i.e. forty aircraft lost and two hundred and eighty men. Not all the men would have been killed as some would have baled out. There were 2 squadrons based at Tholthorpe from early 1943 to the end of the war and so it is logical to assume that their casualties during this period in killed, wounded and POWs were somewhere between four and five hundred. From 1939 to 1941 Tholthorpe was the home of two RAF Squadrons, 77 and 102 when their Whitley bombers operated off the grass before the concrete runways were laid in 1942. In 1940 Whitleys from Tholhorpe bombed Berlin. There would almost certainly have been casualties during this period and therefore the losses for the whole of WW2 would probably be in the order of five hundred.

Qui se souvient d’Euloge Bouchard? – Who remembers Euloge Bouchard?

Mary Hansen…

Elle a envoyé ces photos prises de son mari avec Euloge Bouchard.

She sent these pictures taken of her husband with Euloge Bouchard.

Bouchard and Hansen


Collection Mary Hansen

Hansen and Bouchard in London


Collection Mary Hansen

C’est Marcel qui m’a envoyé le tout avec une demande toute spéciale.

Bonjour Pierre
Je t’envoie 3 photos.
Il s’agit de mon père Euloge Bouchard et de son ami Douglas Hansen.
Deux photos les représentent au même lieu, Trafalgar Square (Londres), et ce, à des années de distance. Sur l’autre photo, c’est M. Douglas Hansen.
C’est pour la vie durant que les deux coéquipiers de l’Escadrille des Alouettes sont devenus de grands amis.
Mme Mary Hansen, l’épouse de feu Douglas Hansen, a appris récemment l’existence de ce site par sa toujours amie, Madeleine Fournier, l’épouse de feu  Euloge Bouchard. Le frère de Madeleine, M. Marcel Alphonse Fournier, faisait aussi de l’Escadrille des Alouettes. Il a été porté disparu à la fin de la guerre.
Mme Hansen demande que ces nouveaux témoignages soient publiés.
Merci de votre attention
Marcel Bouchard
Mary Hansen a aussi envoyé cette photo de son mari prise en 1945.
Douglas Hansen
Collection Mary Hansen

Une page d’histoire des Alouettes


À partir  du log book de Rodolphe  Lafrenière…


Les deux photos furent prises le même jour devant le Halifax III KW-J, à Tholthorpe.


Quel jour?  C’était probablement le 3 novembre 1944 en après-midi alors que le soleil était très bas.

Voici le raisonnement.

Le 13 septembre 44, l’équipage Lafrenière vola Halifax II FD-J alors qu’ils étaient au 1659 H.C.U.  (Heavy Conversion  Unit) n’est pas cet avion sur les photos car la prise d’air sous le moteur n’est pas présent sur les Halifax II.

Le 18 septembre 1944, l’équipage Lafrenière arrive à  l’escadrille 425 à Tholthorpe.

Le 2 octobre 1944, ils accomplissent un vol d’entraînement (air to air bombing?) sur KW-J, LW391 à Tholthorpe. LW 391 est équipé d’une mitrailleuse calibre .50 sous le fuselage à la place du radar H2S.

Puisque la photo Lafrenière nous indique un radar H2S, ce n’est pas le LW391.

Durant la nuit du 14/15 octobre 1944, le LW391 s’écrase durant l’opération Duisburg.  Le code KW-J est maintenant assigné au Halifax NR178.

Le 1er et le 4 novembre 1944, l’équipage Lafrenière volera KW-J, NR178 durant deux missions à Oberhausen et Bochum.

Mais le 3 novembre on vole une mission d’entraînement (X-country bombing) encore sur KW-J, NR178.

Après ces dates l’équipage Lafrenière ne volera plus le KW-J qui sera descendu par un chasseur allemand durant la nuit du 5-6 janvier 1945.

Le 13 janvier 1945, Euloge (Butch) Bouchard est maintenant un « Pilot Officer ».  Sa commission en qualité d’officier date du 8 novembre 1944, mais ce n’est qu’en janvier 1945 qu’il peut porter l’uniforme.

Sur la photo devant le KW-J, il est encore « Flight Sergeant ».  Il sera promu « Warrant Officer II » plus tard à une date inconnue.

Je crois qu’il est plus probable que les photos furent prises avant le départ d’un vol d’entraînement plutôt qu’avant une mission au dessus de l’Allemagne.



En hommage à Euloge Bouchard


Euloge  Bouchard  faisait  partie  de l’équipage de Rodolphe  Lafrenière.


Son fils m’envoie  cette photo  prise devant le train d’atterrissage  du KW-J.


Bonjour M. Lagacé

Ma mère, qui a 90 ans, a vécu de fortes émotions, lorsqu’elle a vu sur internet la photo de son frère, Alphonse Marcel Fournier. Elle a dit: Il y a enfin un endroit pour honorer sa mémoire. 

montage Alphonse Marcel Fournier

Par ailleurs, elle a demandé que soit ajouté une autre photo de son mari, feu Euloge Bouchard, au site de l’Escadrille des Alouettes.

Merci de votre attention