Me and my Spitfire

That’s the caption Wally Dove wrote.

Wally survived the war. He gave his grandson Greg his logbook and his photo album.

As I said many times, Greg scans and I write.

Many readers have also shared what they had about RCAF No. 403 Squadron. Peter Lecoq is one of them.

If you have something to share, feel free to do so by writing a comment. I will contact you.

I Love This Blog

I am not the one who said this.

Peter Lecoq’s daughter wrote it in her comment two weeks ago.

I loved this blog. I am the daughter of Pierre Lecoq (Peter Logan). I have such wonderful memories of my trip to Kenley in 1966 where Dad was based. He loved to fly and I went flying with him many times as a child. I would enjoy any and all information about him.

Well, Marianne probably talked about the blog to her brother Peter because he sent me last week all that he could find on his hard disk.

Some pictures are exclusive because we have very few pictures about RCAF No.130 Squadron.

This is what I found on the Internet about that squadron.

To paraphrase Peter Lecoq…

Enjoy!

RCAF Station Bagotville

At the height of the Second World War, the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) selected a relatively level farming area at the head of navigable waters in the Saguenay Fjord to be the site of several aerodromes during 1941. This area was considered useful for RCAF purposes, given the amount of cleared land in the region, its relative geographic isolation and proximity to the deepwater port of Port-Alfred, as well as access to the adjacent railway network. Construction began that summer and continued through the winter and following spring on RCAF Station St-Honoré near Chicoutimi and RCAF Station Bagotville in La Baie.

The base at St-Honoré opened in June 1942, followed by Bagotville on 17 July 1942; St-Honoré being operated as a sub-base to Bagotville. RCAF Station Bagotville hosted the 1 Operational Training Unit (1 OTU) which trained pilots from commonwealth nations under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP), as well as the 130 Panthère Squadron, which was an operational RCAF air defence unit intended to protect the massive Alcan aluminum smelter in nearby Arvida (one of the largest industrial facilities in Canada at the time), and associated hydro-electric facilities in the Saguenay region. During 1942 Quebec‘s coastal regions along the lower St. Lawrence River and Gulf of St. Lawrence were witnessing the Battle of the St. Lawrence as German U-boats were sinking Canadian shipping throughout the area. RCAF Station Bagotville was established, along with RCAF Station Mont-Joli to counter the U-boat menace to Canada’s war effort and placate local fears.

425 Squadron CF-18A Hornet currently based at Bagotville

Early training aircraft operating from RCAF Station Bagotville included Curtiss Kittyhawk, Westland Lysander, North American Harvard and Hawker Hurricane. The 130 Squadron, which was deployed at the base to provide regional air defence to key industrial facilities, used the motto “Défendez le Saguenay”, which was later adopted by the entire base. On 1 August 1942 the 12 Radar Detachment was deployed to provide air traffic control. On 24 October 1943 the 129 Squadron took over from 130 Squadron as the regional air defence unit; 2 months later in December the 129 Squadron was redeployed from Saguenay and the 1 OTU was retasked with regional air defence duties.

Toward the end of the war, RCAF Station Bagotville began to decline in activity as the requirement for BCATP training decreased. On 28 October 1944 the 1 OTU ceased operations, followed by the 12 Radar Detachment. In 29 pilot training courses given by 1 OTU at RCAF Station Bagotville (and St-Honoré), 940 pilots successfully graduated and 41 were killed during training.

In November 1944 1 OTU was disbanded and the closure of RCAF Station Bagotville and its secondary facilities at RCAF Station St-Honoré was announced; they were officially closed and mothballed on 5 January 1945.

Source

As a footnote to this… Walter Neil Dove was also stationed at Bagotville.

The proof is in his logbook.

Walter who?

You have not been reading this blog…?

More pictures from Peter Lecoq’s son

Peter sent more pictures with this message…

Pierre

Attached are some additional photos I came across on my hard drive; regrettably, I don’t know the identities of the subjects.

Best,

Peter

Here is the first one.

We recognised young Peter Lecoq.

Do you know where he is?

His son does not know.

I do…

With the help of this newspaper clipping.

Pierre Lecoq was stationed at Bagotville, Quebec with No. 130 Squadron.

 

RCAF no 130 Squadron
Formed as a Fighter unit at Mont-Joli, Quebec on May 1, 1942, the squadron flew Kittyhawk and Hurricane aircraft on East Coast air defence until disbanded at Goose Bay, Labrador on March 15, 1944.
Curtiss 87A Kittyhawk Mk I (May 1942 – October 1942)
Hawkers Hurricane Mk XII (September 1942 – March 1944)

Source

A Knight of the Air With Savoyard Origins and a RCAF hero

“During the war, my father flew under an alias, Pete Logan.

Why?

During WW2, my father’s mother and siblings lived in Bonneville, France, and my father’s superiors felt that his family could face retaliation should the Germans ever learn of my father’s French roots.

My father did have some claims; however, his records are incomplete. When he went from being Pierre Lecoq (R77174) to Peter Logan, the official records for Pierre Lecoq were totally erased or lost …

What I do know, is that after my father’s tour of duty ended in July of 1944, in lieu of returning to England for a rest, he donned civilian clothing and headed east to join his immediate family in Bonneville, FRANCE. Being perfectly bilingual, my father had no problem communicating in French. In order to reach his family, he had to travel through enemy occupied territory; hence, along the way he assisted the French Resistance movement in defying the Germans, and also assisted downed Allied pilots in their quest to escape enemy territory. I don’t know exactly when my father returned to Canada, but he was in the reserves (City of Montreal 438 Squadron) after the war while attending McGill University (Medicine Class of 1952).”

Peter Lecoq, son of Pierre Lecoq

The Lecoq family traces its roots back to Savoie, France. This newspaper clipping is most probably written in 1944. WWII is not over yet by what is said about being Pierre Lecoq being an instructor for pilots defending against V-1 rockets.

Click to zoom in on the article

I told Peter Lecoq I was going to translate this article so English people can “enjoy” what he sent me about his father.

The article is most interesting since it traces Pierre Lecoq’s roots and tells a lot about the Lecoq family and about Pierre Lecoq aka Pete Logan.

See you next time.

Bel exploit… Quite a feat

Newspaper clipping sent by Pierre Lecoq’s son.

Lieutenant Pierre Lecoq from Montreal, a fighter pilot with Wolf Squadron, helped recently in the destruction of a freight train in France. He’s 23 years-old and he studied at the Catholic High School in Montreal. He completed his military training in Bagotville, Quebec and he’s now stationed overseas since the summer of 1943. (R.C.A.F)

For all the articles about Peter Lecoq on this blog, click here.

Lieutenant Lecoq with 438 Squadron

After the war Pierre Lecoq was in the reserve. He became second in command with 438 Squadron serving under Wing Commander Claude Hébert DFC. He was replacing Louis Morrissette.

After the war it became No. 438 City of Montreal (F) Squadron (Reserve) and was equipped with Vampires and Sabres. Reformed as an Air Reserve squadron at CFB Montreal the squadron flew the CSR-123 Otter and eventually the CH-136 Kiowa helicopter.  In 1981 the squadron changed roles, becoming 438 Tactical Helicopter squadron and currently flies the CH-146 Griffon.

More about RCAF 438 Squadron

To be honest, I know nothing about Wing Commander Claude Hébert. But in September 2011 I knew nothing about Wally Dove.

So who is Claude Hébert DFC…?

I found this on the Airforce site.

HEBERT, S/L Rosario Jean Claude (C1469) – Distinguished Flying Cross – No.425 Squadron – Award effective 11 April 1944 as per London Gazette dated 21 April 1944 and AFRO 1075/44 dated 19 May 1944.  Born 1914, Magog, Quebec; home there.  Enlisted Trois Rivieres,, Quebec, 2 January 1940.  Trained at No.1 SFTS (graduated 13 July 1940).  No citation other than “…completed…many successful operations against the enemy in which [he has] displayed high skill, fortitude and devotion to duty.”  DHist file 181.009 D.1730 (PAC RG.24 Vol.20607) has recommendation dated 15 December 1943 at which time he had flown 39 sorties (222 hours 25 minutes):

This officer has now completed thirty-nine night sorties on a variety of targets.  He has carried out these attacks with consistent skill and courage.  Squadron Leader Hebert has set an example of skilful pilotage, cool judgement and determination.  This, along with his cheerful confidence, has inspired a high standard of morale in his crew.

 More about 438 during WWII.

Wing Cdr. Claude Hebert, D.F.C., war-time flight commander in the famed “Alouette” bomber squadron, was the first officer commanding of the post-war No. 438.

Gabriel Taschereau who wrote this book said that Claude Hébert was quite a man and a pilot. I don’t think there is a translation of that book.

I will translate some part of it next time.

F/L John Hodgson J/5667

One more pilot who did not make it back.

F/L John Hodgson J/5667 is with Peter Lecoq, Buzz Beurling in this picture sent by Peter Lecoq who is Peter Lecoq’s son.

Lecoq, Beurling and Hodgson (Peter Lecoq collection)

Click here

Mission: Ramrod 960.

Date: 2nd June 1944.

Unit: No. 403 Squadron R.C.A.F.

Type: Spitfire IX.

Serial: MK742.

Coded: KH –

Location: Herbecourt France.

Pilot: F/Lt. John Hodgson. R.C.A.F. J/5667. Age 22. Killed.

REASON FOR LOSS:
One of two Spitfires lost on this Ramrod 960, F/Lt. Hodgson was tragically killed when his Spitfire IX MK742 suffered complete engine failure which may have been due to flak, and crashed at Herbecount near Amiens. The second aircraft lost on this mission Spitfire IX MJ229 411 Squadron R.C.A.F., flown by F/Lt. R W Orr was hit by flak, but he was able to bale out over the Channel and was rescued.

Click here

In memory of
Flight Lieutenant
 JOHN  HODGSON
who died on June 2, 1944

Military Service:

Service Number: J/5667
Age: 22
Force: Air Force
Unit: Royal Canadian Air Force
Division: 403 Sqdn.

Additional Information:

Son of John and Susanna Hodgson; husband of Doreen Lydia Hodgson, of Southgate, Middlesex.

Burial Information:

Cemetery:
ST. PIERRE CEMETERY, AMIENS
Somme,France

Grave Reference: Plot 7. Row D. Grave 13.
Location:
ST. PIERRE CEMETERY is situated on the north-eastern outskirts of Amiens, on the northern side of the main road to Albert.

Flight Lieutenant Cecil Brown

Not much information or pictures about Flight Lieutenant Cecil Brown on the Internet.

This is what I found…

F/L Cecil Brown 403 Squadron, 127 Wing :

“July 16 was a most interesting flight. Just one squadron of us went out to do a patrol to see if we could run into anything, shoot up anything on the ground or in the air. One fellow had engine trouble and had to go back. That left 11 of us. Andy MacKenzie was leading one group of six Spitfires and I was leading the other six as Deputy Flight Commander.

“We had found shortly after we got to France that the best way to operate was to get enough pilots for two teams – 24 pilots – 2 Flight Commanders and Squadron Leaders and Squadron Commander. Each flight had a deputy commander so we made two teams up, and we took everything that went on from 1 o’clock today to 1 o’clock the next day and then we’d have a day off. We began rotating like that.

This particular night, I was a deputy flight commander. I think Andy was a flight commander and he happened to have the other six since we were flying in two sixes. But one turned out to be five planes.

“And I looked over and below us and I saw some Typhoons heading back to our lines hell bent for leather. I wondered what was chasing them. I looked behind and I saw a whole mass of German 109s coming. I thought this was a good chance for us to go down and have a go at them. So I called Andy: ‘Come on over, we’ve got some joy (Germans) over here.’

“And Andy said: ‘No thanks. I’ve got all I can handle here.’ And he ran into the same thing.
“We found when we got back that it was quite a well known German formation led by the Jerry ace Walter Nowotny and he flew a Focke-Wulf 190 and led two groups of 55 Messerschmitts. And this was what we had tangled with. We really hadn’t planned on that many. Once into it, there was nothing much you could do but fight.

“So when we got back, the Intelligence people reported they’d been listening on the radio and monitoring the German transmissions and told us who we’d been fighting. I knew too who we’d been fighting when I saw the 190 and the mass of 109s.

“Eleven of us got in a hell of a scrap with those Messerschmitts. We were west of Argentan for this one.

“F/O H.V. (Harry) Boyle, of Toronto, got 3 planes; Andy MacKenzie got 2; and Jim Collier was credited with 1. We lost one, Drury O’Kelly who was shot down early in the fight. He was flying No 2 to me and his job was to protect the guy in front.
“I looked around when I saw all the bullets (tracers) coming by me and my guy was gone. He never said a word, so I don’t know what happened to him. We never saw him again. So we got 6 and lost 1. This was the biggest scrap I was ever in.

“S/L Jim Collier did two tours, one in the North African Desert and the other with us. He was an accomplished artist and when he got home, he set up a business called ADS-Art & Design Studio. His group did all the design and art work for ad agencies, and at one time, he had about 60 artists working for him. He served in Squadrons 250 and 403.”

from “We Were There – RCAF & Others” by Jean E. Portugal

Peter Lecoq had this picture where we see F/L Cecil Brown.

What about Mac Gordon?

Click here.

What about Harry Boyle?

Click here.

About the pilot shot down…

In memory of
Flying Officer
MIALL BOURCHIER  O’KELLY
who died on July 16, 1944

Military Service:

Service Number: J/18246
Force: Air Force
Unit: Royal Canadian Air Force
Division: 403 Sqdn.

Burial Information:

Cemetery:
ECOUCHE COMMUNAL CEMETERY
Orne, France

About Walter Nowotny…

Reading about Walter Nowotny’s career in the Luftwaffe, I don’t think he was in that fight…

He was Geschwaderkommodore from April 1944 to September 1944.

Source: Wikipedia

Geschwaderkommodore

This is what is said about Jagdgeschwader 101 (JG 101)

Jagdgeschwader 101 (JG 101) was a Luftwaffe fighter-training-wing of World War II.

Formed at Werneuchen from Jagdfliegerschule 1, JG 101 was created in December 1942 and were stationed from 27 January 1943 at Pau, southern France. An operational training unit, the Geschwader was never officially deployed in combat, although on 5 March 1944 Jagdgruppe West and JG 101 defended Bergerac, Cognac, and other airfields in south west France against a raid by 8th Air Force B-24s.

On 24 May 1944 Hptm. Scholtz of 1./JG 101 claimed a B-17 shot down.

The unit operated several training types, including the Gotha 143 and Bucker 131 biplanes and the French-built fighter Dewoitine D.520. JG 101 also operated the first two seater Bf 109.The G-12 was a modified G-2, with a second seat behind the existing cockpit for the instructor. The two seat Fw 190F-8/U-1 trainer was also employed.

The Geschwader was disbanded on 16 April 1945 and 2,400 personnel were transferred to the 10. Fallschirm-Jäger-Division and 11. Fallschirm-Jäger-Division.

Identifying Pilots and Searching for Them on the Internet

With this picture sent by Peter Lecoq’s son, I went looking for more information on the Internet.
Click on these hyperlinks.

Doug Lindsay

Chuck Thornton

Pierre Lecoq

Dave Goldberg,

Bill Myers

Nothing so far on these pilots : Jerry Preston, Mac McGarrgle.

About Doug Lindsay,  I found this video where he is interviewed. Click here to learn more about Allan Cameron’s project.