Joseph Auguste Omer
"Trottle" Levesque
1st pilot to down a FW190 in combat *

Omer Levesque

RCAF   S/L   -   DFC (US), Air Medal (US)

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Borden Class Told Not to Fly Dangerously
WORK NOT FINISHED

Camp Borden, April 1, 1941 (Special) - Pilots in training from seven Provinces of Canada, four States of the American Union, Newfoundland and Australia, received their wings at a ceremony in the large drill hall, R.C.A.F. station, here tonight, after several months of training under the British Commonwealth Joint Air Training Plan.
The Provinces represented were Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Alberta, New Brunswick and Quebec, and the States were New York, Texas, North Dakota and Louisiana.
The young leading aircraftmen, who received their preliminary training chiefly at Prince Albert, Sask., and Portage la Prairie, Man., will rank henceforth as sergeant-pilots and will be dispersed to other stations.
Group Captain R. S. Grandy, officer commanding the station, extended a hearty welcome to the guests including about fifty relatives and close friends of the young graduates.
Squadron Leader G. V. Priestly, officer commanding No. 1 Squadron, Camp Borden, officiated at the presentation of the badges of proficiency, which will be worn as a token of attaining a distinct step forward in their training.
"You have done a good job; you have worked hard, but your work isn't by any means finished when you leave this station," Squadron Leader Priestly stated.
"You have the best instructors we can get; you have had the best equipment that can be bought. Those who go overseas have much harder work to do yet. I want you to remember that those who went before you have set up a wonderful reputation for the R.C.A.F. You have something to look forward to. I am sure that you will carry out the best traditions of the R.C.A.F.
"Before you finish your training, I want you to remember everything told you. We cannot afford here, or in England, to have dangerous flying. We must keep accidents to a minimum. Dangerous flying causes definite sabotage of the cause in which you are all fighting."
Group Captain Grandy thanked the staff and congratulated the class on catching up on the course despite bad weather during the winter.
The class included K. E. Hobson, Winnipeg, formerly a member of Royal Canadian Mounted Police; and John M. Milmine of Kipling, Sask., whose Scot ancestors fought with Wolfe on the Plains of Abraham in 1759, and whose paternal ancestors since that time have always been in the armed forces of the Empire as instructors.
The lone New Zealander in the wings class is B. J. Halse, a native of Wellington, who has resided in recent years in Sydney, Australia, where he enlisted with the Royal Australian Air Force.
Group Captain Grandy congratulated the class. "You are now in a position to start your real flying career," he said. "Please don't take Squadron Leader Priestly's words too lightly regarding dangerous flying. If you are in the right kind of aircraft to do aerobatics, by all means do, but practice them at the proper height, because it is not only dangerous to yourself but also to the people on the ground."
Among the leading aircraftmen who received their "wings," and qualified as sergeant pilots, were the following:
Royal Canadian Air Force—W. R. McRae, Port Arthur; J. R. Manser, Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.; G. R. Cushon, Oxbow, Sask.; P. R. Carrillo, New York City; H. W. McLeod, Regina; A. W. Moffatt, Saskatoon; K. E. Hob-son, Winnipeg; W. O,, Wallace, Calgary; M. J. Whelan, Toronto; J. G. Woodill, Halifax; W. F. Baepre, Quinton, Sask.; W.E.Munn, Regina; H. Byers, Souris, Man.; S. G. Thompson, Moncton; A. E. Mokanyk, Winnipeg; R. G. Calvert, London, Ont.; J. F. Lambert, Winnipeg; J. C. R. Gourdeau, Quebec; G. B. Whitney, Fort Worth, Texas; L. A. Rowat, Winchester, Ont.; M. R. R. Vair, Toronto; D. F. Henderson, Saskatoon; W. H. Beveridge, Isabella, Man.
R. K. Newstub, Winnipeg; R. W. Denison, Winnipeg; H. R. Preece, Hudson Bay Junction, Sask.; H. M., Compton, Ottawa; W. H. McAdam, Regina; F. E. Monette, Regina; J. M. Milmine, Kipling, Sask.; J. D. Stevenson, Winnipeg; T. C. Callaghan, Sudbury, Ont.; J. Sommerville, New Orleans, La.; O. Levesque, Quebec, Que.; W. T. S. Grayson, Maner, Sask.; H. D. Button, Grand Forks, North Dakota; A. H. -MacDonald, Fleming, Sask.
Royal Air Force — R. G. White,; St. Johns, Newfoundland; D. B. Lacey, St. Johns, Newfoundland; P. Gruchy, Grand Falls, Newfoundland; R. Mercer, Grand Falls, Newfoundland.
Royal Australian Air Force — T. Cleary, Brisbane; R. E. Anderson, Sydney; B. J. Halse, Wellington, New Zealand; B. M. Geissmann, Brisbane.

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Born 21 may 1920
Home In Mont-Joli Quebec
Second World War veteran and former POW;

Postwar with No.410 Squadron;
Flew with the Blue Devils RCAF aerobatic team 1949
with Don Laubman, Joe Schultz, Bob Kipp & others
Transferred 1 June 1950 to the 4th Fighter Group,
- Langley Air Force Base, Virginia
On conversion to Sabres,
Assigned to 334th Fighter Interceptor Squadron
Moved with that unit to Korea, 1 December 1950
First sortie on 17 December 1950 and
Flew approximately 58-60 sorties until 1 June 1951
American awards presented at Johnston AFB, Japan, Jan. 1951
Awarded Queen's Coronation Medal, 1953
He died 2 June 2006

For more on Canadian Sabre pilots in Korea see H.A. Halliday, "In Korean Skies", Roundel, December 1963 and January 1964.

I was told the nickname "Trottle" came from how he said the word "Throttle"

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Young Sergeant Pilots Arrive Safely Overseas

(By HAROLD FAIR.) London, May 21, 1941 – (CP) — A contingent of young sergeant pilots from Canada's training fields, including Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders and Americans, stretched the stiffness out of their sea legs today after joining the throngs of Canadian fliers who preceded them here.
Size of this latest contingent of Commonwealth Air Training Plan graduates was not made public. It was merely said they were all sergeant pilots.
During the crossing by convoy from an Eastern Canadian port, they sighted no Nazi submarines nor aircraft. But they had a spell of bad weather and looked down grimly into the water at one drifting piece of ship wreckage that reminded them of Hitler's undersea warfare.
Among the Canadians were Howard Clark of Toronto, Raymond Goudreau of Quebec City, Omer Levesque of Mont Joli, Que.; D. Chapman of Vancouver, J. J. Doyle of Glace Bay, N.S.; H. R. McDonald of Edmonton, Bill Munn of Regina, J. F. Lambert of Winnipeg, George McClusky of Kirkland Lake, N. J. Ogilvie of Ottawa and Sid Ganon of Montreal.
Adjutant of the voyage was stocky Bert Johnson of Windsor, Ont., who joined Royal Canadian Air Force headquarters in England as official photographer.
Among the Australians who received final training in Canada was Peter Kingsford-Smith, nephew of the late Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith, famous trans pacific flier. Four United States youths were in the group. They were Harry Garvin of New York City, Edwin Davis of East Orange, N.J.; James Walker of Corpus Christi, Tex., and J. B. Spangler of Bethlehem, Pa. "They can leave us here as long as they want and you can't say too much for English hospitality," said Howard Clark. Looking wistfully into the sky as a flight of R.A.F. bombers roared over, he remarked: "Boy, look at that formation. I'd sure like to be with them." Goudreau and Levesque said England was "swell." Goudreau added, smiling: "They ask us to speak French just to see what it sounds like."

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R.C.A.F. PILOTS IN OLD COUNTRY FOR NEW DUTIES
Convoy Reaches Britain Without Sighting Enemy Ships
EAGER FOR ACTION

London, May 22, 1941 — (CP Cable) — The latest group of Royal Canadian Air Force flyers — all sergeant pilots — has reached Great Britain safely, it was announced yesterday.
Over the broad expanse of a famous Royal Air Force reception depot, the scores of young Canadians, latest graduates of the Commonwealth air training plan, roamed happily, regaining their land legs.
The convoy that brought them from Canada sighted neither Nazi submarines nor aircraft during the crossing. Only highlight commented on by the flyers was a spell of bad weather.
They saw evidence of Germany's sea warfare when they passed a piece of wreckage.
"They can leave us here as long as they want and you can't say too much for English hospitality," said Howard Clark, of Toronto. Looking wistfully into the sky as a flight of R.A.F. bombers roared over, he remarked: "Boy, look at that formation. I'd sure like to be with them."

England "Swell"
Raymond Goudreau, of Quebec City, and Omer Levesque, of Mont Joli, Que., said England was "swell." Goudreau added smiling: "They ask us to speak French just to see what it sounds like."
The flyers crowded around Flying Officer Bert Johnson, former Windsor Daily Star photographer, when they saw him with his camera. Adjutant on the voyage, Johnson joined R.C.A.F. headquarters in England as official photographer.
The arrivals included D. Chapman, Vancouver; H. R. McDonald, Edmonton; Bill Munn, Regina; J. F. Lambert, Winnipeg; George McClusky, Kirkland Lake; N. J. Ogilvie, Ottawa; Sid Gannon, Montreal, and J. J. Doyle, Glace Bay, N.S.
Peter Kingsford-Smith, nephew of the late Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith, famous Australian flyer, was among a contingent of Australian and New Zealand pilots who accompanied the Canadians.

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Canadians Bag 4 Nazis In Honor of New Chief

(By DOUGLAS AMARON)
London, Nov. 23, 1941 - (CP) - Canadian fighter pilots, who celebrated the arrival of Air Vice-Marshal Harold Edwards in Britain by shooting down four German planes over Northern France, were visited today by the new air officer commanding the R.C.A.F. in Britain and his predecessor, Air Commodore L. F. Stevenson.
Less than twenty-four hours after he stepped from a plane which brought him from Canada, Vice-Marshal Edwards went to the Canadians station and heard first-hand accounts of the engagements of the previous day, which are considered by air authorities to be one of the finest performances of the war in the particular type of operation in which the Canadians were engaged.
The Canadians, who also were credited with one probably destroyed and four seriously damaged enemy aircraft, were the toast of the station, and received an informal message of congratulations from Sir Archibald Sinclair, Secretary of State for Air, and a formal message from Air Vice-Marshal Trafford Leigh - Mallory, under whose command the squadron operates.
"Congratulations on a splendid showing. Well done, Canadians!" said Vice-Marshal Leigh-Mallory's message, read to all the squadron's personnel.
Like an excited crowd of youngsters who have just won a football game, the Canadians talked shop most of the day, telling and retelling about their combats with what was estimated to be a force of at least sixty German fighters.

Get First Huns
Attention centered on Pilot Officer Ian Ormston of Montreal, Pilot Officer Don Blakeslee of Fairport Harbor, Ohio; Sergeant Omer Levesque of Mont Joli, Que., and Sergeant Don Morrison of Toronto, each of whom shot down his first plane of the war.
It was a particularly satisfying day for Blakeslee, Levesque and Morrison. Levesque, in addition to his confirmed victory, came to grips with a second Nazi and last saw him breaking up in mid-air, while Blakeslee and Morrison also both inflicted serious damage on a second German plane.
The squadron's commanding officer, Squadron Leader Norman Johnstone of Winnipeg and Regina, and Sergeant Jeff Northcott of Minnedosa, Man., were given credit for the other damaged German aircraft.
"Those boys made a mighty good show of it," said Johnstone, beaming with fatherly pride. "The odds were considerably against them, both in numbers and in consideration of the sweep that took us over enemy territory. It was the first real flight for a majority of them, and they pitched right into battle with plenty of courage and no end of ability."
Ormston, who, with Flight-Lieutenant E. L. Neal of Quebec City and Blakeslee and Morrison dived into a group of Messerschmitt 109's and new Focke-Wulf 190's, literally blew his Messerschmitt out of the air.
Levesque, who said that "once in action I forgot the perils because things were happening too fast," forced the pilot of the first plane he attacked to bail out and shot part of the wing off the second.

“He Simply Exploded”
Blakeslee, who enlisted at Windsor, Ont., said he spotted the Messerschmitts at 15,000 feet and dived on them at 6,000. "All we did was dive and a one-second burst got my man," he said. "He simply exploded."
Morrison, who earlier in his first week with the squadron, scored a probable, spotted three Germans on the tail of Neal's plane.
"I came up from below and knocked off one," Morrison said. "He apparently didn't know I was there. Later I nearly joined three Focke-Wolf 190's which I thought were Spitfires. I took a crack at the last one and when last seen he was pouring out black smoke."
The Canadian fighter squadron co-operated with an English squadron whose members bagged another two enemy craft.
A veteran RAF wing commander with a personal score of eighteen confirmed victories led the combined English-Canadian squadrons operating from the fighter command's top-storing station. The six planes destroyed brought the station's total of aircraft shot down since the start of the war to nearly 900.
"We saw fifteen Messerschmitts about two miles below us climbing hard," the wing commander said in describing the action. "Leaving the British squadron on top, I sent down several sections of the Canadians to attack. I stayed with the others, keeping a look-out in case assistance was wanted.
"It wasn't. Those boys just sailed into the German fighters and they were a grand sight to watch, whooping down and mixing it with the Hun

Chased Into France
"After the fight had been going on for some time our pilots started to chase the Messerschmitts deeper into France, and, as I didn't want them to get too widely scattered, I told them over the radio to come back and call it off. It was well that they did, for another bunch of Messerschmitts had approached higher up."
The wing commander sent the English squadron after these, and one German fighter promptly was sent smoking down to earth. Both squadrons then started for home, running into another batch of enemy fighters on the way.
During the flight home Levesque, who transferred to the air force from a French-Canadian army unit, got his Nazi.
"He was having a tough struggle," the wing commander said. "The Messerschmitt he was fighting finally plunged into a wood just inside the French coast and exploded like a bomb."
Over the coast and the Channel the squadrons met more German fighters in ones and twos, and the commander estimated that they encountered about sixty in all.
"Really," he said, "it was a grand afternoon for both squadrons."
J. P. Bickel, Toronto mine owner, who has held positions of importance in the Ministry of Aircraft Production, arrived with Air Vice-Marshal Edwards, as did Brigadier G. R. Turner, who is returning to his post at Canadian Corps Headquarters after a visit to Canada.
Mr. Bickel was met by Sir Archibald Rowlands, Permanent Secretary of the Aircraft Production Ministry. He said he was here "for a couple of weeks."
Flight Lieutenant Bill Broadribb of Ottawa also accompanied Edwards.
The flight across the Atlantic was described as "cold.”

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Six Canadians Killed On Overseas Air Duty

Ottawa, Feb, 20. 1942 - (CP) - Six men were reported killed overseas, four were listed as missing after air operations overseas and one was reported dead from natural causes in Canada in they Royal Canadian Air Force's 193rd casualty list of the war, issued today.
Among those listed as missing after air operations is :

Levesque, Joseph. Auguste Omer, Flight Sergeant, 855416; missing. Mrs. J. A. Levesque (mother), Mont Joli, Que.

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OTTAWA REPORTS SEVEN MEN DEAD
Five Flyers Are KiIIed in Canada and Two Overseas

Ottawa, Feb. 28, 1943 — (CP) — The Royal Canadian Air Force's 197th casualty list of the war yesterday contained names of seven men killed on active service, five in Canada and two overseas. One man who died from natural causes in Canada, two missing after air operations overseas, one overseas airman presumed dead and one reported prisoner of war also were reported in the list, along with one reported seriously ill. The list includess:

Previously reported missing, now reported prisoner of war

P.O. Joseph Auguste Levesque, of Mont Joli, Que.

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Helped dig the tunnel at Stalag Luft III for the "Great Escape" but fortunately (as it would turn out), was not selected in the draw that determined who left the prison & who stayed that night

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The following is an excerpt from DFC (US) citation, quoted in RCAF Press Release of May 1951.

Flight Lieutenant J.A.O. Levesque, RCAF, performed an act of heroic and extraordinary achievement as a member of a flight of four F-86 type aircraft on a combat air patrol south of the Sinuiju-Yalu River area, North Korea.

Flight Lieutenant Levesque's flight engaged enemy high performance jet aircraft in a battle which varied in altitude from 30,000 feet to 3,000 feet. Through aggressive and skilful maneouvering, he made repeated daring attacks upon the enemy which resulted in his personal destruction of one enemy aircraft. His brilliant evasion of other enemy aircraft added immeasurably to the success of his mission.

Flight Lieutenant Levesque's heroic and extraordinary achievement and meritorious devotion to duty has brought great credit upon himself, his comrades in arms of the United Nations, the Royal Canadian Air Force and the United States Air Force.

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LEVESQUE, Squadron Leader Joseph Auguste Omer (19794) - Air Medal (US)
Awarded as per AFRO 490/51 dated 10 August 1951, "in recognition of meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight from 17 December to 21 December 1950."

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Victories Include :

22 Nov 1941

11 Feb 1942

one FW190
one FW190
one Me109
two FW190s
destroyed & (1st FW190 shot down by Allies)
damaged  (in Spit V - W3178, YO-Q)
destroyed &
destroyed - then shot down and taken prisoner
30 Mar 1951 one MiG destroyed

5 / 0 / 1+

*I have found no evidence of a FW190 being shot down by anyone before this date

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Obituary

LEVESQUE, Honorary Colonel Omer WWII and Korean War Fighter Ace Veteran - On Friday, June 2, 2006 at the age of 86. Beloved husband of Irene Meija. Dear father of Paul. Brother of Lucille, Germaine and Yolande. Fondly remembered by many relatives and friends. Predeceased by his brother Mario. A Funeral Mass will be held on Thursday, June 8th, 2006 at 11 a.m. in St. Paul Church, 61 du Couvent, Aylmer. The family will receive condolences at the Funeral Parlor, 47 Denise Friend (corner of Eardley and Parker), Aylmer, from 9:30 a.m. In memory of Omer, donations to SPCA, 659 Auguste-Mondoux, Gatineau J9H 5E1 would be appreciated.

for more information or to sign the Omer Levesque quest book click here

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Related Sites

Constable's Levesque page
canada-heros.com
Omer's Korean Sabre victory
the free library
   

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--- Canadian Aces ---

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On these pages I use Hugh Halliday's extensive research (which includes info from numerous sources), newspaper articles via the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation (CMCC) as well as other sources both published and private

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