Category Archives: The French Connection

Epilogue – A Journey Into the Past

Post by Pierre Lagacé

Clarence Simonsen has done an incredible research using Gordon Hill’s photos.

This is probably the most interesting photograph in the hundreds of photos in Gordon McKenzie Hill’s collection.

At least in my own humble opinion…

This is what Clarence wrote about it.

Gordon Hill was sent to the RCAF Release Deport in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and met up with an old High School friend who was graduating from the University of Manitoba. Gordon became her escort for the evening, and had his photo taken after the dinner. The other males at his table have spent the past four years studying at University, while Gordon was flying around the world, fighting for Canada. I wonder if they had any idea what he had seen and done for them.

“I wonder if they had any idea what he had seen and done for them.”

I don’t know if these people had any idea what he had seen and done for them, because I did not ask Clarence if Gordon Hill had talked that much about that photo.

I don’t know also if he had talked that much about the war with his relatives before he met Clarence. But I glad he did talk to Clarence because I have learned so much about many 416 Squadron pilots and especially about the French Connection who were “damn good pilots” according to Gordon Hill.

“Lou” Nault, “Pic” Picard, “Jack” Menard and “Lou” Brouillard now will always be remembered on Preserving the Past thanks to “Gord”.

“Lou” Jean, another French-Canadian Spitfire pilot, will also be remembered.

On the left is F/O M. R. “Mush” Sharun. On the wing is F/L D. W. Harling. Below is F/O W.F. Bridgman, then F/O W.D. “Wally” Hill and F/O Gordon “Gord” Hill, W/O L. J. “Lou” Jean, F/L W. R. “Webb” Harten, F/O J. Leyland and F/O R.W. “Tap” Tapley.

W/O L. J. “Lou” Jean

This is one of the reasons I colorised that picture. W/O L. J. “Lou” Jean was a “damn good pilot”.

I colorised it also to pay homage  to the three pilots who never came back from the war.

Their stories are here on Preserving the Past.

Use the search button to look for them…

F/L D. W. Harling…


F/O W.F. Bridgman…

F/L W. R. “Webb” Harten…

I wonder if some of the French Connection pilots shared what they did during the war with their relatives.


Intermission Three – “Damn good pilots!”

Intermission post by Pierre Lagacé

Damn good pilots!

That’s how Gordon Hill, who is 94 years-old, calls the French Connection.

When Clarence Simonsen asked more information last week about French-Canadian Spitfire pilots flying with 416 Squadron, that was how he called them…

Damn good pilots!

After 72 years!

You won’t find this in history books.

Damn good pilots!

Posing for an official RCAF photographer, Louis Nault stands on the left, next to Henri “Pic” Picard who is watching Jacques Ménard, while Roland Brouillard is looking on.

Louis Jean was also part of the French Connection.

Louis Jean, that the tall guy on the extreme left in the first row. “Pic” Picard is the fifth one from the left. Gordon Hill is on the wing, in the centre. Brouillard and Ménard are not on that group picture.

I wonder why…

Gordon Hill is now so easy to spot on pictures scanned by Clarence.

This is another photo where we see Gordon Hill and Roland Brouillard…


Haines is on the left. Brouillard is next, then Gordon Hill in the centre, smiling. Next are Preston and Leyland.

The pilot who is kneeling is Douglas who was killed accidentally by a shotgun blast in the face on May 14, 1945.

The war had been over just a week before. 

Lest We Forget

Next time, I will tell you more about Brouillard whose nickname I have just learned was Lou.
B.78, Eindhoven