Remembering because forgetting is not an option

Remembering since 2010…

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Goody

Scappa

mystery-pilot1

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George Stewart on nose

Sid Seid Mosquito VI from 418 Squadron

Just Joe III close-up

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PT-17 in the background

Just Joe 5 mod bw

Rick Maude and Theodore Griffiths mod

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LAC Eugene Gagnon receiving in wings at Dunnville

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Here we go up up up Griff - 1941

George Stewart DFCPaul Beaudet DFC

George Stewart and Peter Smith

Flight Lieutenant Thomas

023Little Snoring - June or July 1945

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Cochran Field

Where Tony Marks got his training…

Museum of Aviation Insider

This past weekend I had the privilege to sit down with two gentlemen, both veterans of World War II, and conduct oral history interviews with them. I have written before about the importance of oral histories, but these were the first actual interviews that I have done as the primary interviewer. The process was not completely new to me, as I have sat in on many interviews and in some cases helped conduct them, but this was a whole different experience. Both interviewees were very gracious and helpful. It can be an intimidating thing to invite a stranger into your home, sign legal release forms and then try to remember events of about 70 years ago. The gentlemen in question were both stationed at Cochran Army Airfield during World War II and their stories are remarkably different and yet share many commonalities. The most important thing about these stories however…

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How It Really Started – Take Two

Note

This was written in 2010.

Marcel is now 89…

***

Marcel Bergeron is 82 and he is not a veteran Mosquito pilot nor is he a war hero.

Marcel went to see someone, a veteran air gunner of No. 425 Alouette. He asked for his help in finding more information about Eugène Gagnon. You see Eugène Gagnon was his hero when he was a youngster. In a sense Marcel is also a hero because he wanted to keep Eugène’s memory alive.

Marcel told me this anecdote.

Eugène died in a plane crash in 1947.

Marcel Bergeron at the crash scene

Collection Marcel Bergeron

Eugène’s sister moved to the United States. She came back to Canada where she had lived before. She threw away in the garbage all Eugène’s medals and also his precious logbook.

She did not know how valuable they were.

Marcel had kept a few mementos of his hero.He has his RAF wings and a button with a small compass hidden inside in case Eugene had to parachute over enemy territory. He also has a piece of the jacket Eugène wore when he died on October 21, 1947.

Those mementos are the most precious things he has of his hero.


Eugène Gagnon DFC

(Courtesy Mario Hains)

Marcel had also copies of his discharge papers.

Discharge papers page 1

 

Discharge papers page 2


But Marcel wanted to know more about Eugène’s service in the RAF… and he asked someone’s help who, in turn, asked me to help him.

To learn more about this search you will have to read my other blog titled Lest We Forget.

Click here.

This is the article I wrote in 2013 about my search for Eugène Gagnon.

July 1945

Little Snoring - June or July 1945

This is the last group picture taken of 23 Squadron. I have been using it since 2010 to remember these heroes.

Some are still unknown.

Little by little people who are related find this blog created in 2010 and leave a message…

Hi, My grandfather recently passed away and I am in the process of scanning and copying all of his things. I have come across lots of old photos of him in 23 Squadron and I also have his Flying log book. Would you be interested in copies of these for your blogs if you are still doing them? My grandfather is John William Thompson (Jack) he is the photo above middle row 6th person in. We will be saying our final farewell to him on Tuesday 13th September and would love to know if you have any more information on him.

Regards

Debbie

I always write back like I did with Theo’s son-in-law…

Theo in training mod