Before I knew about Eugène’s missions over Germany, this is the first thing I found about him.
Eugène was awarded a DFC.
So he had to have been a good pilot.
GAGNON, F/L Joseph Achille Eugene (J27002)
– Distinguished Flying Cross
– No.23 Squadron
– Award effective 22 May 1945 as per London Gazette of that date and AFRO 1147/45 dated 13 July 1945.
Born 1921; home in Bromptonville, Quebec. Enlisted Montreal 7 February 1941. Commissioned 1942. Trained at No.1 ITS (graduated 3 July 1941), No.10 EFTS (graduated 21 January 1942) and No.6 SFTS (graduated 24 April 1942).
Since joining his squadron in December 1944, this officer has completed many sorties against a variety of targets. His determination has been outstanding and his persistent attacks on enemy locomotives, rolling stock and road transport have been most successful.
One night in March 1945, he was detailed on a minelaying mission in a section of the Elbe River. On the outward journey the starboard engine developed trouble but despite this he went on to accomplish his task in the face of heavy enemy fire. On the return journey the starboard engine became completely unserviceable. Height could not be maintained and the aircraft was forced down to 400 feet, becoming extremely difficult to control. Displaying brilliant airmanship and determination, Flight Lieutenant Gagnon made a successful landing at base without injury to his crew and with but slight damage to the aircraft. His devotion to duty has been most notable.
A year or so later, Mike Thomas sent me this document. He had information about Eugène’s missions.
Before I only had this to work on with. It was sent to me by Archives Canada.
Mike had much much more.
Information on all 33 missions!
Especially this one…
F540 entry 27 March 1945.
F/L Gagnon and F/O Harris were detailed for an Anti-Flak patrol of Elbe River and Ludwigslust area. On the outward journey the CSU became u/s causing vibration of starboard engine, which developed excessively, so course was set for base. Eventually the engine failed completely. Great difficulty was found in maintaining height and at 4000 ft fuel tanks were jettisoned but only starboard drop tank released. Port engine started cutting 90 miles from English coast. This (trying to drop port tank) was repeated four time and 10 miles from the coast fuel tank unexpectedly jettisoned. R/T was very weak and communication to Coltishall was made through GOODCHILD 37 whose timely aid was very much appreciated. The Mosquito, on one engine, belly landed at Base (Cat. AC) and we are pleased to record that the crew were unhurt.
F540 Entry 12 April 1945.
Today F/L Gagnon was made the immediate award of the Distinguished Flying Cross for his very fine show on the night of 27/28 March 1945. Needless to say, there were great celebrations, which finally terminated at 0100 hours, on the Friday morning.