L’Escadrille 425 «Alouettes»
2006

Special group induction

RCAF Bomber squadron raised during World War II mainly for French Canadians. Called «Alouettes» (Larks), its slogan was: «Je te plumerai» (I shall pluck you). In the fall of 1942, the squadron became operational, headed by Wing Commander J.M.W. «Joe» St-Pierre (AFC, DFC us), Squadron Leaders Georges Roy (DFC) and Logan Savard (DFC), and Air Engineer Hilaire Roberge (MBE). The Alouettes were based in England, except for a period between May and December 1943 where they were posted to Tunisia for a campaign of raids over Italy. Flying Wellington bombers (replaced in December 1943 by four-engine Halifax bombers), the squadron made 287 raids, 24 sea-mining missions and 11 leaflet operations. It hit relentlessly German industrial and military sites (Kiel, Essen, Hamburg, Berlin, Cologne…), attaqued U-boat naval bases in occupied France, destroyed V-1 sites, etc. 425 Squadron served with honours and distinction, with oustanding results (2 MBE, 163 DFC, 4 DFC with bars, 2 GM, 18 DFM, 1 AFC, 1 DFC us). Among its most decorated members were Marcel St-Germain (GM, DFC), Maurice Marquet (GM), J.R. Arcand (DFC*) and Yvon Côté (DFC*). Sadly, some 250 men lost their lives. The Alouettes squadron provided French Canadians an opportunity, for the first time, to massively penetrate the aviation scene. Postwar aviation would greatly benefit from this qualified pool of personnel and many former 425 members would later make significant contributions to aviation.

The Alouettes squadron provided French Canadians an opportunity, for the first time, to massively penetrate the aviation scene. Postwar aviation would greatly benefit from this qualified pool of personnel and many former 425 members would later make significant contributions to aviation.

Such as Gilles Simard (DFC) Québecair chief-pilot, Léopold Brochu (DFC) airport manager at Québec city, Gilles Boulanger (DFC) founder of «Faucheurs de Marguerites» air pageant. Other ex-425 became influential postwar military officers, like Lucien «Joe» Lecomte (DFC, CG), Gabriel Taschereau (DFC) and Édouard Jean (DFC). Gilles Lamontagne became Minister of Defence. Jean-Claude Hébert (DFC, OC) headed Bombardier… The list seems endless. Accordingly, the impact of the 425 outlived its operationnal war service. After the war, Réal St-Amour (MBE) and Paul Bourdages set up the Alouettes association called «l’Amicale de l’Escadrille 425». At the first reunion in 1948, more than 1200 veterans attended. Disbanded in 1945, the squadron was reactivated in 1954 at St.Hubert. It is today a fighter unit posted in Bagotville (Qc).

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