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Memorial Number: 35059-166
Type: wooden laminated plaque
Location: Memorial Hall, Lisgar Collegiate Institute
Address: 29 Lisgar Street
Ottawa, ON
Surveyor: Richard Turcotte
Photo Credit: Richard Turcotte

This memorial plaque unveiled in 2008, was erected by the Lisgar Collegiate Institute and Vintage Wings of Canada. This memorial is dedicated to the memory of Pilot Officer David Francis Gaston Rouleau, a College graduate.


[plaque/[plaque]

DAVID FRANCIS GASTON
ROULEAU
PILOT OFFICER ROYAL CANADIAN AIR FORCE

LISGAR COLLEGIATE GRADUATE



[first column/première colonne]

David Rouleau was born in Ottawa, lived along the still waters
of the Rideau canal, attended Lisgar Collegiate and summered along
the logging route known as the Gatineau River. He attended the University of Toronto where he earned a Bachelor of arts. David
Rouleau's life would have been one of happiness assured a college
graduate in a quiet town, one of family roots and children to come and
of success- perhaps as a teacher. He was young, shy, wide-eyed and
innocent in the way that good young men were in 1941. However, his
barely-underway life was swept up in the massive fire storm of the
Second World War. A boy who loved swimming, badminton and pad-
dling on the Gatineau River, whose family loved him for his brightness
and kindness became serial number J15348 and went forth from the
bosom of his family to learn to fly and kill men just like him whose
leaders had chosen a dangerous path.

His is the story of all Canadian airmen of the Second World War; one
of duty and honour to be sure- but also one of excitement, fellowship,
the thrill of flying and the pride of being counted among the finest
warriors Canada had.

Rouleau enlisted in the Royal Ca-
Canadian Air Force taking elemen-
tary flying training at St. Eugene,
Ontario- just to the east of here.
He then went on to No.2 service
Flying Training School at RCAF
Uplands in Ottawa never more
than a short drive from his family.
After earning his wings, David
Rouleau most likely enjoyed a
short leave with his family, was
then swept away into the mael-
strom of war- never to return-
until now.

Rouleau sailed across the Atlantic to train on Spitfires. After his op-
erational training, he joined 131 Squadron, RAF as a Flight Sergeant,
flying with them for 10 months before he was commissioned as a Pilot
Officer. A week after, he left 131 to join pilots sailing for the defence of
Malta in the Mediterranean Sea, reaching Gibraltar before June of
1942. On June 2nd , he sailed aboard the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle
with fellow pilots and their Spitfire fighters. On the morning of the
3"',31 pilots including Rouleau launched from Eagle's deck, formed
up and headed for Malta. Close to the island fortress, they were
attacked by 12 Messerschmitt Bf-109 fighters of II/JG S3 led by leg-
endary Luftwaffe ace Gerhard Michalski. Four of the 31 Spitfires
were shot down by the Germans including that of Pilot Officer David
Francis Gaston Rouleau. He was never seen again.

[second column/deuxième colonne]

James Cobley grew up during the Second World War. His father
Fred worked for (?) Steel, building fuselages for the Avro Lancaster
bombers of Bomber Command. Immediately after the war, Fred pur- chased a RAF leather flying jacket from a war surplus store for £3.
He wore it for several years to work at the factory, but in 1950 gave it
to his teenaged son Jim, who had secretly wanted it since his father
brought it home. Jim would wear the jacket as he walked to work at the
same factory where his father worked. Jim loved the way he looked in
that jacket, the way it attracted attention- especially from the girls. He
wore it to all the football matches he could attend- and that was a lot
as Jim was a great fan.

In 1952, Jim joined the Royal Air Force for his National Service and
was deployed to Singapore. After returning from duty, Jim took vari-
ous jobs but excelled eventually as a toy salesman. Throughout all this
time, Jim continued to wear his flying jacket whenever he could- espe-
cially to football matches to watch his beloved Oxford United side.
The "Fan in the Flying Jacket" was seen by hundreds of thousands of
people as Jim travelled to away games across England.

It wasn't until 1984 that Jim, at the
suggestion of a friend, had a close
look at the faded label in the
jacket. Close inspection revealed
the faint pencilled lettering with
the name "Rouleau" and a service
number- J15348. It was then that
Jim's abiding curiosity set in
motion a search for the story of
"Rouleau" that would last a quar-
ter of a century, involve dozens of
people and cross an ocean- a
quest that would bring his beloved
jacket home.

That search led Jim to the jacket's owner- Pilot Officer David Rouleau
- who had died during the war trying to get to Malta. Several times the
search for more about Rouleau reached a dead end. But persistence on
the part of Jim and his friends in England and in Ottawa led Jim not
only to the truth but in the end to the family members of David Rou-
leau. The quest brought to light considerable information about the last
days of David Rouleau's life that his family had never known. Now
some 66 years after his disappearance, his family has learned the truth,
come together to celebrate his life and touched the jacket that their
beautiful son once wore. It will now be proudly displayed dose to his
home in the Vintage Wings of Canada library along with other artefacts
from his personal effects- all because of one man's curiosity and
kind-heartedness.