--- Remembrance Day: looking back on Omer “Trottle” Levesque
Remembering those who died fighting for Canada’s freedom during wars, and honouring those who continue to serve, the Aylmer Bulletin took the opportunity to pay homage to a local man with a distinctively decorated career in the military. Living in Aylmer for much of his life before passing away in 2006, Omer “Trottle” Levesque was more than just a regular guy.
Born on May 21, 1920, in Mont-Joli, Que., Levesque served with the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Air Force unit from 1941 to 1965, even spending some time on the American Air Force’s 4th Fighter Group and the 334th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron.
A Prisoner-of-War (POW), including in the Stalag Luft III German prison camp, the late WWII veteran also notably served in the Korean War where he also contributed admirably flying F-86 Sabre jets.
Being the first ever Canadian pilot to shoot down an Fw 190 plane and a Soviet MiG aircraft in combat, Levesque earned the prestigious title of “Ace” in 1951 – the same year he finished his tour of duty – and was awarded the Queen’s Coronation Medal in 1953. He was also noted as the first Canadian soldier to score a victory during the Korean War, and the first pilot from Canada and the Commonwealth to engage in jet-to-jet combat.
After the military, Levesque worked for the federal government, before serving as honourary colonel of the 425 Tactical Fighter Squadron from 2001 to 2004. In 2002, Levesque was inducted into the Québec Aviation Hall of Fame, according to the CAF.
Meeting him in 2000, local resident George Pelletier said he was instantly amazed by the experiences Levesque had been through during his career, from bombarding several German battleships at the same time, to getting captured by Nazi troops in war-torn France. “We had very different experiences,” Pelletier said with a laugh. “He was in the war.”
Having also served with the CAF Air Force from 1957 to 1961, Pelletier said he best remembers his friend as a pleasant person to be around, have a coffee with and exchange old stories. “He was resourceful,” Pelletier said. “He did all sorts of great things. I thought he was a good devil.” This year would have marked Levesque’s 100th birthday.