How Eugene Became a Mosquito Pilot?

I always learn something new about a man I never met in my life.

laporte2 001

Eugene Gagnon died on October 21, 1947 when his Republic Seabee crashed probably when the propeller shaft broke.


I was born a year later.

Eugene and I are not even blood related. So why this compultive need to search for this Mosquito pilot’s life even though he died almost 66 years ago?

Because he gave so much for his country and I love history and airplanes.


This being said, someone just gave me this information about Eugene’s training days by looking at his service record.


Something I did not know and always puzzled me.

Looks like Eugene was washed out of pilot training at St. Catharines two weeks before the rest of the course completed their training there. Someone else also washed out and ended up serving as a navigator (DFC) with 426 Sqn. The remainder of the course was posted to No. 14 SFTS Aylmer (Harvards) and No. 5 SFTS Brantford (Ansons).
After KTS Trenton (reselection), Eugene was posted to No. 4 Manning Pool in Quebec, rather than back to No. 1 Manning Pool in Toronto. He must have had more receptive listeners in Quebec than in Toronto, as they sent him back to Elementary Flying Training, this time at Mount Hope, as you know, home airport of CWH – ties in great with the Mosquito appearance at Hamilton this summer.

Eugene trained at Mt. Hope and flew Mosquitos!

Eugene could have been washed out! But he persevered.

George Stewart will be a guest speaker at the CWH Airshow.

poster Hamilton Air Show

I am sure that if Eugene was alive he would also be a guest speaker alongside George.

But then I probably would not have written 170 posts (and counting) on a blog about 23 Squadron if he had not died on October 21, 1947, and met Peter Smith on the Internet, and met George Stewart at his home in September 2011, or reunited George with his navigator’s children and so on, and so on, and so on… and have in my possession the journal of someone who met Eugene only once in his life…


Small world!


8 thoughts on “How Eugene Became a Mosquito Pilot?

  1. I love reading about the story behind the facts and figures. It brings each individual and their life into focus, so that we know the man and his story. I knew absolutely nothing about No 23 Squadron, but I’m sure enjoying your posts about the men who served in it. Thank you, Pierre.

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