June 18, 1921 - July 30, 1944
Henry Mathias Laflamme was the son of Henry (a barber) and Alberta (nee Poitevin) of Wales, Ontario, now a ghost town. He had one brother, Hoch, and two sisters Rose Marie and Francoise. The family was Roman Catholic.
He stood 5'19" tall and weight 147 pounds before enlistment. He had a dark complexion, brown eyes and black hair. He initially was with the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders, in August 1940. He also had one year of high school cadets in Cornwall, Ontario. He earned 96% in mathematics in high school. He did office work for Victor Abrams, managing a chick hatchery and the flour and feed store, from 1938 - 1940, prior to enlistment in Ottawa. He liked hockey, tennis, swimming and softball. He said he spoke English, and 'some French'. On a reference letter, Victor Abrams wrote, "Mathias Laflamme.....speaks and writes both English and French and has knowledge of typing, shorthand and bookkeeping."
"Intelligent, alert, keen to serve with Air Force drill and discipline should develop into a good air crew member. He stopped school at 17, then worked for two years. Has no worries about finances, family or anything else. Pilot or Air Gunner."
He started his journey through the BCATP in November 1940, travelling to Toronto's No. 1 Manning Depot. From there he went to Picton and then to No. 2 SFTS, Uplands in January 1941. He went to No. 3 ITS Victoriaville in March [7 out of class of 370; Quiet, intelligent type. He comes from a small town and has not been around much, but is developing fast], then to No. 13 EFTS St. Eugene by May [Aerobatics average and likes them very much. Not very good on instrument. Keen and conscientious and well disciplined; 8 out of class of 36 in Ground School]. He received his Wings in September 1941, then was sent to No. 9 SFTS, Summerside, PEI in September 1941 [Average pupil, navigation: 68%, progress satisfactory; slow worker at Ground School, conduct and deportment good; recommended for Fighter Squadron], then to Halifax and arrived at RAF Trainee's Pool, September 17, 1941.
He was at 3 PRC, then to 56 OTU October 8, 1941 and assigned to 601 Squadron December 3, 1941. He was then reposted to 33 Squadron November 3, 1942.
On December 19, 1942, Laflamme was involved in an Hurricane IIC Hu508 accident in Benghazi (Benina aerodrome) at 0655 hours. "Accident occured during a half-light take off, no flare paths being used. Pilot was unable to see aircraft dispersed some distance down the aerodrome due to dim light. The pilot did not take-off into the wind as it was a 'semi-scramble' and in the dim light, did not notice the drft which eventually took him into the dispersed aircraft. This pilot has done excellent work in the squadron and it is a 'potential' Flight Commander who has just completed a good spell of operations and probably lapsed into carelessness owing to the sudden change from 'ops' to a 'quiet period'. He is ery strongly recommended for leniency. I feel that the accident and its seriousness is fully appreciated by the pilot." S/L S. C. Horris 33 Squadron.
He returned to the UK January 19, 1944. He was sent back to Canada on special leave March 3, 1944, then returned to England in May 1944. He was taken on strength with 184 Squadron June 8, 1944 and went missing July 30, 1944.
"Six Typhoon 1B aircraft took off from B5 at 1645 hours on V. Convoy Patrol. F/Lt Laflamme [in Typhoon JP 495] was leading the third section of two aircraft. Contact was made with VCP and the Squadron was directed to attack tanks believed to be on roads leaing south from Aunay-sur-Odon. The Squadron dived from 12 000 to 2 000 feet in slight dive coming out over target area. A considerable amount of light flak was encountered. F/Lt Laflamme received a direct hit, turned over on his back and was seen to hit the ground. No pilot of the Squadron saw him bale out."
Mathias Laflamme's body was found three miles north east of Aunay-sur-Odon on July 1, 1945 by the Canadian Army. The aircraft was identified by the Directorate of Aeronautical Inspection, Ministry of Aircraft Production by letter to the Air Ministry. Laflamme's remains were reinterred on July 4, 1945 in Bretteville-sur-Laize.
His parents requested that all of their son's personal belongings be returned to them.
F/Lt Laflamme was awarded the Africa Star Ribbon March 2, 1944.