22/23.05.1944 425 Squadron Halifax III LK810 KW:Y Fg Off. La Porte
Operation: Le Mans
Date: 22rd/23rd May 1944 (Monday/Tuesday)
Unit: 425 (Alouette) Squadron, RCAF
Type: Halifax III
Base: RAF Tholthorpe, Yorkshire
Location: Le Mans - Target area
Pilot: Fg Off. Edmund Elie La Porte J25390 RCAF Age 20. Killed
Flt Eng: Sgt. Norman Vincent Ward 1819837 RAFVR Age 23. Killed
Nav: Fg Off. Joseph Octave Arthur Remi Tétrault J23910 RCAF Age 26. Killed
Bomb Aimer: Flt Sgt. Joseph Raoul Henry Bernard Clovis Mallette R154165 RCAF Age 25. Killed
WOp/Air Gnr: WO1. John Arthur Laing R129137 RCAF Age 20. Killed
Air Gnr (Mid Upp): Sgt. Joseph Jean Marie Levasseur R136950 RCAF Age 20. Killed
Air Gnr (Rear): Sgt. Robert McGowan R193475 RCAF Survived PoW No: 53389 * (1)
* Stalag 9c Mühlhausen near Bad Sulza, Thuringia, Germany.
Above left: Flt Sgt. Mallette and right: WO1. Laing (from their service records)
REASON FOR LOSS:
112 aircraft taking part to bomb the railway facilities at le Mans in France. The crews were over the target at between 7,000 and 9,000 feet, releasing 826,000 lbs. of high explosives. According to reports, bombing was accurate and severe damage was caused.
Halifax LK810 after taking off at 00:10 hrs on the 23rd May. Hit by flak from 5. & 6./gem Flak Abt 596. The aircraft crashed 3km north of le Mans airfield at 02:45. (Nachtjagd Combat Archives 1944 Part 3 - Theo Boiten)
(1) Sgt. McGowan was seriously injured in the crash and was admitted to the Rennes Military Hospital, which was variously named EPS Rennes, Frontstalag 221 West and Lazarett Rennes. He survived his injuries and was eventually sent to Stalag 9c. During his time as a PoW he was commissioned and promoted to Plt Off. with a Service No. of J83716
Fg Off. Edmund Elie La Porte. Le Mans West Cemetery. Plot 38. 1939-45 Row C. Grave 35. Born 25th October 1923 in Verdun, Quebec. Son of Edmond and Eugenie (née Le Blanc) La Porte, of Val Barrette, Province of Quebec, Canada.
Sgt. Norman Vincent Ward. Le Mans West Cemetery. Plot 38. 1939-45 Row C. Grave 36. Grave inscription: “TO A FULLER LIFE. MOST GLORIOUS, FREE FROM PAIN. WE AND HE WILL MEET AGAIN. E.G.D.” Son of William Herbert and Lucy Phyllis Ward, of Coundon, Warwickshire, England.
Fg Off. Joseph Octave Arthur Remi Tétrault. Le Mans West Cemetery. Plot 38. 1939-45 Row C. Grave 37. Grave inscription: “DEAR SON AND BROTHER. REST IN PEACE.” Born in Transcona on the 1st October 1917 the son of Joseph Octave Tétrault and Caroline Coulombe Tétrault, of 158 Regent Avenue East, Transcona, Manitoba, Canada.
Tétrault Lake northeast of Lac du Bonnet, Manitoba, Canada was named after Fg Off. Joseph Tétrault in 1973. Sadly the family also lost his brother, 41 year old Flt Lt. Joseph Wilfred Tétrault 30112 RCAF. On Canadair CP-107 Argus II 20727 which crashed in the Atlantic Ocean on the 23rd March 1965. All the crew of 15 and a scientist were lost without trace during a military exercise with 404 Squadron.
Plt Off. Joseph Raoul Henry Bernard Clovis Mallette. Le Mans West Cemetery. Plot 38. 1939-45 Row C. Grave 31. Grave inscription: “QUI MARIAM ABSOLVVISIT, ET LATRONEM EXAUDISTI, MIHI QUOQUE SPEM DEDISTI.” (Translation: YOU, WHO ABSOLVED MARY, AND LISTENED TO THE THIEF, GIVE ME HOPE ALSO). Born 18th September 1918 in Montreal, Quebec. Son of Ovila and Maria (née Boucher) Mallet, of Montreal, Province of Quebec, Canada.
Promoted to Plt Off. on 21st May 1944 with a service No. J89459
Plt Off. John Arthur Laing. Le Mans West Cemetery. Plot 38. 1939-45 Row C. Grave 32. Born on the 6th May 1921 in Newcastle -on-Lyne, England. Son of John Arthur and Janet Hutton (née Stark) Laing from Toronto, Ontario and husband to Roma Marine Laing of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Promoted to Plt Off. on 21st May 1944 with a service No. of J90517
Plt Off. Joseph Jean Marie Levasseur. Le Mans West Cemetery. Plot 38. 1939-45 Row C. Grave 30. Grave inscription: “EN MEMOIRE DE NOTRE CHER FILS UNIQUE HONNEUR SACRIFICES DÉVOUEMENT.” (Translation IN MEMORY OF OUR DEAR ONLY SON HONOUR SACRIFICES DEDICATION). Born on the 22nd July 1923 at Mont Joli, Mantane, Quebec. Son of Alphonse Son of Alphonse and Marie Claire (née Dumais) Levasseur of Mont Joli, Co. Matane, Province of Quebec, Canada.
Promoted to Plt Off. on 21st May 1944 with a service No. of J89685
Researched by Kelvin Youngs (webmaster) and dedicated to the relatives of the crew (Oct 2016). Thanks to John Jones for the loss information (Nov 2020). Other updates by Aircrew Remembered (Nov 2020). Thanks to Susan McGowan for the correction to the spelling of her father's name and the information that he was injured in the crash (Mar 2022).
Other sources as quoted below.