|Eugene Edward Chouiniere|
in Cohoes, NY
|Eugene Chouniere with Lea St Hilaire|
Uncle, Niece, and Childhood Playmates
On the night of November 25th, 1942 five men of the Royal Canadian Air Force went missing on a mission flying over Europe. The five men were:
Alfred Joseph Parklyn, Pilot Officer, J/16080 from New Jersey, pilot
William John Vandervoort, Warrant Officer Class II, R/74630 RCAF from British Columbia, bomb aimer
James McGregor Allen, Flight Sergeant, R/93188 from Toronto, Ontario, wireless operator
James Louis Guichard, Warrant Officer Class II, R/83204 from Detroit, Michigan,
Eugene Edward Chouiniere from Cohoes and Waterford
The plane was an Avro Lancaster ... a heavy bomber made by Avro, a British aircraft manufacturer
|Avro Lancaster Bomber|
"A heavy bomber"
I do not know how Americans Parklyn and Allen came to serve in the Canadian forces, but I do know the story of Eugene Chouiniere because Lea St Hilaire told it to me. Eugene was from Northside in Waterford; he was quite young when both his parents died. According to Lea, he was eight years old when he came to live with his older sister, Rosalie's family in Cohoes. Despite Gene being her uncle, he and Lea were the same age and played together, fished together and hunted rabbits - together. The household spoke French and English. Lea's grandfather had a farm in the area of Cohoes that is still called "The Orchard" section of town. Gene's sister, Rosalie St Hilaire neé Chouiniere became his surrogate mother, Alfred St Hilaire his foster father.
Then when he was still 17 years old, Gene wanted to join the US army and went to the recruiter. He was told he was too young and should finish his high schooling and then join. Gene couldn't wait so he jumped on a train from Cohoes to somewhere in Québec where he easily enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force.
He didn't tell anyone where he was going when he left Cohoes. When he returned, Lea and the family were stunned to learn he joined up in Canada!
Eugene Chouiniere was nineteen years old when he, the pilot and crew aboard the Lancaster went missing without a trace over Haselunne, Germany.
Presumed missing, causalities of the great war, never found, there were no bodies to place in a national cemetery or sacred ground. However, they were memorialized in a special place at Runnymeade, England: Air Forces Memorial, Runnymede Those of 207 Squadron who have No Known Grave, WWII.
|Silhouette of Lancaster Bomber|