I met a war veteran today at his home.
Mr. Corbeil was an air gunner on a Halifax during WWII.
Jean-Paul Corbeil on the left
He finished his tour of operations in September 1944 and was sent to Canada.
He left Liverpool on the Queen Elizabeth with many American servicemen. He was in his cabin with three Canadian Spitfire pilots who also had finished their tour.
One pilot had a DFC with bar.
He does not remember his name.
What he remembers though is that this pilot was killed in front of him as the pilot was crossing a street in Ottawa around October 28th or 29th, 1944.
He remembers the car that struck the pilot. A big Mercury. He also remembers that he had to call the pilot’s family living in Toronto.
There was a padre on the scene who did not want to get involved, so he had to call. The mother’s pilot took the call. In the background he could hear a younger woman with a small child.
Everything is still vivid in his memory. Everything except the name of the Spitfire pilot with a DFC and bar.
This pilot had to be an exceptional pilot.
I promised Mr. Corbeil that I would try to find more information using my contacts. I tried looking at the Canadian Virtual War Memorial but found nothing.
Maybe this pilot was with the 403.
That would be quite a coincidence.
But then maybe not.