Gilbert ''Gilles'' Boelanger

Gilles Boulanger (°1922)  joined the RCAF during WWII. Accepted for pilot training, he chose however the shorter air gunner course, fearing he would miss the war. Assigned to No 425 Alouettes Squadron, he miraculously survived a Wellington crash. He completed 37 missions (7 more than a normal tour) and received in 1944 the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Postwar, Mr. Boulanger took a private pilot course and founded in 1946 Montmagny Air Services, a small airmail operator flying a Piper Cub between Montmagny and Île aux Grues. After a job as Postmaster in Montmagny, Boulanger became sales representative for the P.L. Robertson Ltd company. Distant customers were often visited flying a Stinson 105. In 1960, he founded with his wife the «Escapades» travel agency. In 1971, Boulanger and some friends founded the Club de l’aéronef expérimental de Sherbrooke (CAES). Since it was formed, this very active club has built over 100 experimental airplanes.
In 1980, Mr. Boulanger became a member of the Sherbrooke airport administrative board. In 1992, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of No 425 Squadron, he organized the travel to Sherbrooke of a Lancaster bomber. During his mandate as chairman of the CAES, Boulanger proposed the creation of a yearly air rally for light and homebuilt airplanes, called «Les Faucheurs de Marguerites». The first edition was launched in 1994, with Boulanger serving as President. The same year, at age 72, Boulanger started with Denis Roy the company Dedalius Aviation, wing manufacturer for ultra-light airplanes.
Also a glider pilot, Boulanger was for 25 years member of the soaring organization Club de vol à voile Appalachian. Still passionate about soaring, he flew gliders in Arizona, California, Pennsylvania, the Swiss Alps, among others. In 2006, at age 84, he completed the construction of his fourth experimental airplane, called Dedalius MK 1. The same year, he published a book about his wartime memories called «L’Alouette affolée» (to be translated under the title: «A Passionate Alouette»).
Inducted into the Hall of Fame on November 13, 2008.


Fréderic Pouille, Mayer of Courseulles-sur-Mer, Gilbert Boulanger and me on the ceremony on Juno Beach Center, June 6, 2010.