In 2010 I met Lea Langlais of Cohoes, NY who lovingly told me about her uncle and childhood playmate, Eugene Edward Chouiniere, who died while serving in the Royal Canadian Air Force during WW2. Afterwards, I wrote about him and Lea's steadfast devotion to keeping his memory alive. Lea died in 2012 but the memory of young Chouiniere and the other crew members of the Avro Lancaster R5695EM-C lives on. Lea had photographs of five crew members which lead me to believe the aircraft had a crew of five. I will never know why Lea had photos of the 3 Americans and 2 Canadians crew members but not the 3 English crew. However, in the past year thanks to a dedicated group of people in England known as the "The Field Detectives" from the Goadby Marwood History Group, I have come to understand more about the aircraft and airmen of R5695EM-C. The eight airmen were:
Tuesday, October 5, 2021
Update on 'Lost Without A Trace' The crew of Avro Lancaster R5695EM-C on the night of November 25th, 1942
An effort is underway to find as many family members of the crew across North America and the UK as possible. If you are a family member or a friend reading this post, please contact FrancoAmericanGravy@gmail.com or check our Facebook group, Families of Avro Lancaster R5695EM-C, and request to join the group. A nephew of Alfred Parkyn, the pilot of R5695EM-C, and the team of 'The Field Detectives' are working tirelessly to organize a memorial service to mark the 80th anniversary of this tragic event. It is an honor to bring families together to remember these men and the sacrifice they made during WW2. In the following posts and coming weeks, I hope to share a little bit about each crew member with you, dear reader. Meanwhile, family member and retired Unites States Marine Corp pilot, Michael Parkyn, is writing a history of the crew and aircraft that he hopes will be available in the anniversary year.
James McGregor Allen, 1918-1942, 24 years old, Canada
Eugene Edward Chouiniere, 1923-1942, 19 years old, USA
John James Gallimore, 1916-1942, 26 years old, England
James Louis Guichard, 1904-1942, 38 years old, USA
Alfred Joseph Parkyn, 1915-1942, 27 years old, USA
Jack Slater, 1921-1942, 21 years old, England
William John Vandervoort, 1916-1942, 26 years old, Canada
Windsor Francis R. Webb, 1924-1942, 18 years old, England
As I establish contact with the families of these men, it has greatly moved me to learn how parents and siblings struggled throughout their entire lives never knowing where their son, their brother and, for the wife of John James Gallimore, her husband, met death. Their consolation was the knowledge these men gave their lives protecting England, the people living in England and in the parts of Europe overpowered by the Nazi war machine. The crew of R5695EM-C, along with thousands of other airmen and women never recovered, are memorialized at The Air Forces Memorial Runnymede, in Surrey, England and in the Airmen Memorial Database here.
Monday, February 1, 2021
In New York he was known as Al to everyone.
Like almost every French Canadian son, he was baptized with the standard first name of Joseph but never called by that name in school or the parish. His father, his sister, his brother and friends all called him "Al".
Al waterskiing at Saratoga Lake NY, circa 1962, while visiting from California
In California he was "Joe" to everyone.
In southern California there was a new life, a new family and a new name.
At Laguna Beach