Jacques Chevrier is fifth from the left (source)
P/O J A J Chevrier
Joseph Armand Jacques Chevrier was born in St. Lambert, Quebec, Canada on 7th October 1917. He joined the RCAF on 4th July 1938, travelled to to England in 1940 and was posted to No. 1 Squadron at Wittering on 3rd October, moving to No. 1 (RCAF) Squadron at Prestwick on the 21st. Chevrier was repatriated to Canada on 9th January 1941.
His P-40 sits in the St. Lawrence River
The RCAF’s No 1 (Fighter) Squadron is the only Canadian squadron that took part in the Battle of Britain. Transferred overseas in June 1940, the pilots went through intensive training to be up to the level of their RAF counterparts before being sent to the front. In their Hurricanes, the pilots of No 1 Squadron had their first encounter with the enemy on August 23rd, 1940, and took part in the action until October 8th. Three pilots were awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC): Squadron Leader E.A. McNab, Flight Lieutenant G.R. McGregor and Flight Officer B.D. Russel.
— “RCAF Fighter Squadrons Overseas.” Juno Beach Centre. n.d. Web. 08 June 2010.
No. 1 Squadron’s most successful day
From September 16 to 26, the squadron again witnessed a period where it constantly scrambled and was at an ongoing state of readiness, but saw little action. That did not change the fact the squadron was continually under stress as a lack of steady replacements meant that the pilots got little rest or prolonged leave. The strain was almost unbearable. Having started the battle with roughly 24 pilots, No. 1 had just over half that original number by mid and late September. Yet despite the exhaustion and hurdles, No. 1 nevertheless managed to have its most successful day of the entire battle on September 27.
Starting out with only eight serviceable aircraft, which was reduced to six by the evening, No. 1 survived engagements with 70 enemy aircraft through 26 sorties over three scrambles which the unit’s diary observed had reduced them to “a very tired and unshaven group of warriors”. Yet the vengeance that they had unleashed on the enemy was staggering. Their efforts, which were achieved in partnership with the Polish 303 and RAF 229 Squadrons, had left one Ju 88 destroyed, one Ju 88 probable, four Me 110s destroyed, one Me 109 destroyed and one Me 110 damaged. Unfortunately, it also resulted in another RCAF fatality – although it would be the squadron’s last for the battle – as Flying Officer Otto Peterson’s aircraft was shot down near Kent.
The air battles of September 27 were the last time that the Luftwaffe appeared in force over the skies of southern England during daylight hours. While the battle itself was not yet over, No. 1 finally received the well-earned rest that they so desperately needed on October 9 when it was reassigned to 13 Group and the relatively quiet skies of Scotland.