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John Emilius Fauquier

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John Emilius "Johnny" Fauquier
File:John Fauquier.jpg
Born March 19, 1909
Ottawa, Ontario
Died April 3, 1981 (age 72)
Toronto, Ontario
Allegiance  Canada
Service/branch 23x15px Royal Canadian Air Force
Years of service 1939–1946
Rank Air Commodore
Commands held No. 405 Squadron RCAF (1942–44)
No. 617 Squadron RAF (1944–45)
Battles/wars Second World War
Awards Distinguished Service Order & Two Bars
Distinguished Flying Cross
Mentioned in Despatches

Air Commodore John Emilius "Johnny" Fauquier DSO & Two Bars, DFC (March 19, 1909 – April 3, 1981) was a Canadian aviator and Second World War Bomber Command leader. He commanded No. 405 Squadron RCAF and later No. 617 Squadron RAF (the Dambusters) over the course of the war. A bush pilot, prior to the war, he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force as a flight instructor in 1939. He then joined 405 Squadron in 1941 and would fly operationally for the rest of the war, taking a drop in rank on one occasion to return to active command. During his three tours of operation he participated in Operation Hydra and dozens of other sorties over Europe.

Early years

John Emilius "Johnny" Fauquier was born at Ottawa, Ontario on March 19, 1909, educated at Ashbury College and then entered the investment business at Montreal, Quebec where he joined a flying club. After earning his commercial pilot's licence he formed Commercial Airways at Noranda, Quebec and prior to the Second World War had flown some 3,000 hours as pilot in command on bush operations.[1]

Second World War

He joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1939 as a flight lieutenant, completed an advanced course and served until mid-1941 as instructor of British Commonwealth Air Training Plan instructors. After a short period in England at a glider and paratrooper training center, he was posted to No. 405 Squadron RCAF. On returning in difficult weather conditions after bombing Berlin with the squadron on the night of November 7, 1941, he was forced to land his aircraft on a non-operational airfield, and as a result was temporarily suspected of being a spy by the Home Guard.[2]

By February 1942, Fauquier had been promoted to acting wing commander and given command of the squadron. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) for gallantry.[3] Shortly afterwards he was transferred from operations to the RCAF's Overseas Headquarters for staff duties. He then served a short term with No. 6 Group before once more taking command of No. 405 Squadron in February 1942.[4]

During Operation Hydra in August 1943, a bombing raid on a German military research facility at Peenemünde, he acted as deputy master bomber,[5] making 17 passes over the target. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) in September 1943, in part for his leadership during the raid.[6] Soon after that raid he was promoted to acting group captain of that squadron,[7] which had become a member of No. 8 (Pathfinder) Group.[8]

During January 1944, he flew 38 sorties, completing his second tour of operations with No. 405 Squadron. He was then awarded a Bar to his DSO.[9]

After promotion to acting air commodore—a rank precluded from operational flying—he was Mentioned in Despatches in December 1944.[10] He then voluntarily reverted to group captain so that he might begin a third tour of operations, this time as commanding officer of No. 617 Squadron RAF (the Dambusters squadron), which he led from December until the end of the war.[11] Under his command the Dambusters conducted raids against submarine pens, viaducts and other targets.[12]

With the end of the war in Europe, he was awarded a second Bar to his DSO for his command of 617 Squadron.[13] Spencer Dunmore, a historian and novelist, remembers Fauquier in his history of Canada's Air Force during World War II:[14]

There is no doubt that Fauquier was one of the toughest of commanders. He saw his job as getting every available aircraft on the target on every night of operations and had no patience with any incompetence or inefficiency that might compromise that goal. ... The ground crews thought the world of him, because he thought the world of them and never took them for granted, always remembering to take them bottles of beer or other treats if they had worked particularly hard. Many considered him Canada's greatest bomber pilot.


After the war Fauquier returned to private business. He was inducted into Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame in 1974.[15]

On July 4, 1964 Fauquier traveled to Calgary, Alberta with the Minister of Defence Paul Hellyer, to observe the last official RCAF flight of an Avro Lancaster. This Lancaster, KB-976, was captained by F/L Lynn Garrison with F/L Ralph Langemann as his co-pilot. Other crew members were Captain E.J. McGoldrick, F/O Brian B. McKay, and Jimmy Sutherland, a wartime Lancaster flight engineer.

John Fauquier died on Friday April 3, 1981.


  1. "Johnny Fauquier: Likely Canada's Greatest Bomber Pilot". Nanton Lancaster Society Air Museum. Archived from the original on May 1, 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-26. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Copp, J. (1996). No Price Too High. Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson. p. 88. ISBN 0-07-552713-8.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 35654. p. 3410. July 31, 1942. Retrieved 2008-04-27.
  4. Wise, S. F.; et al. (1980). The Official History of the Royal Canadian Air Force. Canada Department of National Defence. p. 524. ISBN 0-8020-0574-8.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Wise, S.F. et al. (1980). 700, 707-708
  6. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 36175. p. 4133. September 14, 1943. Retrieved 2008-04-27.
  7. Campaign Diary: August 1943 Royal Air Force Bomber Command 60th Anniversary RAF
  8. Pariseau, Jean (2008). "Fauquier, John Emilius". In James H. Marsh (ed.). The Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica Foundation. ISBN 978-0-7710-2099-5. Retrieved 2008-08-04.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 36448. p. 1497. March 28, 1944. Retrieved 2008-04-27.
  10. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 36866. pp. 60–100. December 29, 1944. Retrieved 2008-04-27.
  11. Lake, Jon (2002). Lancaster Squadrons 1944-1945. Osprey Publishing. p. 24. ISBN 978-1-84176-433-7.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Tobin Jones. "617 Squadron—The Operational Record Book 1943–1945" (PDF). Binx Publishing, Acknowledgement is given to HMSO as holders of the copyright on the Operational Record Book. Retrieved 2008-08-04.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 37105. p. 2792. May 29, 1945. Retrieved 2008-04-27.
  14. Above and Beyond. Dunmore, Spencer. McClellan and Stewart. [2000] (2001) ISBN 978-0-7710-2931-8 Quoted in: "Johnny Fauquier: Likely Canada's Greatest Bomber Pilot". Nanton Lancaster Society Air Museum. Archived from the original on May 1, 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-26. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "John Emilius Fauquier". F Members. Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame. 2006. Archived from the original on 2008-05-31. Retrieved 2008-08-04.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


  • Copp, J. (1996). No Price Too High. Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson. ISBN 0-07-552713-8.
  • Dunmore, Spencer [2000] (2001). Above and Beyond. McClellan and Stewart. ISBN 978-0-7710-2931-8.
  • Lake, Jon (2002). Lancaster Squadrons 1944-1945. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84176-433-7.
  • Oswald, Mary (1999). They Led the Way: Members of Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame. ISBN 0-9684843-0-1
  • Wise, S. F. et al. (1980). The Official History of the Royal Canadian Air Force. Canada Department of National Defence. ISBN 0-8020-0574-8.

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
A D Ross
Air Officer Commanding No. 62 Base (RAF)
June–September 1944
Succeeded by
J L Hurley
Preceded by
J B Tait
Officer Commanding No. 617 Squadron (RAF)
December 1944 – April 1945
Succeeded by
J E Grindon