A case in point…
An unsung hero.
An unsung hero when you look at his track record. I had posted an article on my first blog about the Alouettes.
This blog was mostly written in French. I have translated my article on Édouard Jean for my English readers.
Pilot Officer Édouard Jean DFC I am sure never talked that much about his experience during World War Two. Most people never heard of him much, except for a few times when his name popped up at a memorial.
Pilot Officer Édouard Jean DFC was on 32 operations, ops, missions, or trips depending on who is talking.
Pilot Officer Édouard Jean, J85358, DFC joined 426 Thunderbird Squadron in December 1943. That squadron was stationed at RAF Linton-On-Ouse. He completed his first mission as a second dickie with the Logan crew on January 5, 1944, destination Stettin, a 8 hours and 34 minutes trip. At that time 426 Squadron was flying Lancaster B II, equiped with Bristol Hercules radial engines.
His first operation with his own crew took place on January 30, 1944, destination Berlin, a 6 hours and 38 minutes trip.
Here is a chronology of his other missions:
24-03-1944 Berlin –
His actions on this raid on Berlih that lasted 6 hours and 47 minutes earned him a DFC. This is an excerpt taken from the 426 Squadron operational record books.
ORB 426 Sqn – mission A.918: “Hit by flak at 00:47 hours at point believed to be BRUSSELS causing slight damage to tail turret and rear gunner. Landed at COLTISHALL due to injury to R/Gunner and shortage of petrol. Navigation was extremely difficult. Navigator was sick for a time on outward journey and we got off course; after he recovered, winds were faulty and we were constantly South of track. »
10-04-1944 Laon, France marshalling yards
In April 1944, 426 Squadron got rid of its Lancaster BII and it was equipped with Halifax III, but with some major problems.
13-04-1944 ORB 426 Squadron : « Three more Halifax III’s arrived from THOLTHORPE and EASTMOOR and conversion (training) has now commenced in earnest. Of the six aircraft received, five were u/s by 18:00 hrs. It was strongly suspected that the Squadrons turning over their aircraft to this Unit had passed on the ones which had given the most trouble from the serviceability standpoint. This is only natural but it is suggested that Equipment Section issue the transfer orders designating the aircraft by number rather than leaving the Squadron to select the aircraft they wish to get rid of. »
09-05-1944 Calais – Halifax III
12-05-1944 Louvain – Halifax III
19-05-1944 Merville/Franceville – Halifax III
Édouard Jean and his crew were transfered from 426 Squadron, stationed at Linton-On-Ouse to 425 Alouettes Squadron at Tholthorpe. On the same day the crew of the pilot Selfe leaves 425 Squadron to join 426 Squadron as a replacement for Jean’s crew.
27-05-1944 Jean’s first operation with 425 Alouette Squadron. Bourg Léopold
31-05-1944 Au Fêvre
18-07-1944 Caen « A.1 » Front line
18-07-1944 Wesseling synthetic oil plant
20-07-1944 Ferme du Forestel
24-07-1944 Ferfay Constructional Works
31-07-1944 Oeuf-en-Ternois V-1 site
03-08-1944 Forêt de Nieppe V-1 site
15-08-1944 Brussels Melsbroek
19-08-1944 Connantre – rail yards
25-08-1944 Brest – Fort de Cornouaille – 32nd and last mission.
Pilot Officer Édouard Jean DFC, a silent surviving hero…