The Airmen's Stories - F/Lt. J-P J Desloges
Jean-Paul Joseph Desloges was born in on 25th April 1913 in Hull (now renamed Gatineau), Québec, Canada. He attended the University of Ottawa and was a well known athlete there.
Desloges served in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police before joining RCAF as a Provisional Pilot Officer in October 1937. In November 1938 he was promoted to Flying Officer, having received his wings after training at Camp Borden and Trenton, both in Ontario.
He sailed with No.1 (RCAF) Squadron for the UK, arriving on 2nd June 1940.
Above on the voyage to the UK (L to R): F/O H deM Molson, F/O PB Pitcher, F/O AD Nesbitt, F/Lt. J-P J Desloges
The Hurricanes that were shipped over with them had to be modified to RAF standards and the squadron was not in action from Northolt until mid-August.
L to R: P/O OJ Peterson, F/Lt. J-P J Desloges, F/O PB Pitcher, F/O H deM Molson at Northolt.
On 31st August the squadron engaged a large force of escorted Dorniers over the Thames Estuary. A shell came through the cockpit hood of Desloges' aircraft and tore off his helmet, goggles and oxygen mask. The aircraft caught fire and he baled out, already badly burned. The Hurricane, N2530, came down at Gravesend.
Desloges was under treatment for two months in a Canadian hospital in England and was then repatriated to Canada in November 1940. He was sent on a recruiting tour, lecturing at colleges throughout Québec, for more than three months. His subsequent service is currently unknown though due to his injuries he may have been prevented from resuming operational flying.
On 3rd June 1943 the French Committee of National Liberation (FCNL) was established in Algiers and invited representation from the Allies. In December 1943 General Georges Vanier was appointed to represent Canada, with Desloges as his Air Attache. Desloges was sent on a tour of French flying schools in Morocco, Italy and Tunisia. On 8th May 1944 he was a passenger in a Douglas A-24B (supplied to the French by the USA, who called it the Banshee) aircraft which crashed on take-off at Rabat, Morocco.
Desloges was killed and is buried in the British Military Cemetery at Dely Ibrahim, Algeria.
Above cemetery images courtesy of The War Graves Photographic Project