Louis Emile "Coach" Cochand

RCAF   F/L   -   Air Medal (US),  Croix de Guerre (Fr)

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Louis Cochand

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COCHAND, F/O (now F/L) Louis Emile (J13478) - Air Medal (United States) - 11th USAAF
effective 27 August 1943 as per Canada Gazette dated 4 May 1946 &
AFRO 473/46 dated 10 May 1946.

These officers, as pilots of fighter planes, participated in numerous attacks on enemy installations in the Aleutians which were pressed home despite heavy anti-aircraft fire and often under adverse weather conditions. All flights were made from advanced bases and required skilful airmanship for a successful execution of the mission. The courage and devotion to duty of these officers reflect great credit upon themselves and the organization of which they are a part.


Born 6 January 1917
Home in St.Marguerite, Quebec
Enlisted in Montreal, 1 July 1940
No.1 ITS, 27 July 1940 to 14 October 1940 (graduated as LAC)
No.7 EFTS 14 October 1940 to 20 November 1940
No.31 SFTS 1 December 1940 to 24 March 1941 (grad. as Sgt.)
To Trenton, 24 March 1941
To No.2 SFTS to instruct, 2 July 1941
To No.13 SFTS, 1 September 1941
Commissioned 1 July 1942
To Western Air Command, 23 October 1942
To No.14 (Fighter) Squadron, 27 October 1942
Promoted Flying Officer, 1 January 1943
To "Y” Depot, 12 January 1944
Taken on strength of No.3 PRC, Bournemouth, 20 January 1944
Promoted Flight Lieutenant, 1 July 1944
Repatriated to Canada, 21 December 1944
Released 25 May 1945
Settling again in St.Marguerite, Quebec

Biographical file has long letters describing his experiences. Details found in DHist file 181.009 D.4402 (RG.24 Vol.20648) where USAAF 11th Air Force General Order No.106 dated 27 August 1943, on behalf of Alaska Defence Command, lists officers receiving Air Medal "for meritorious achievement in aerial flight" with the following citation;
Cochand's services are listed as from 1 April to 12 August 1943.
NOTE: The same order awards posthumous Air Medals to J5216 F/L D.W.N. Wakeling (Vancouver, flights 1 January to 6 May 1943) and J27371 P/O R.M. Bell (Hot Springs, Arkansas, flights 19 April to 10 August 1943). Apparently not approved by RCAF authorities. The file contains much operational information on all those decorated on this occasion. All were in No.14 (F) Squadron (-HH)


Dominion Flyers Played Part in Making Foe Evacuate Kiska

An Advanced R.C.A.F. Unit in the Aleutians, 7 Oct. 1943 — (CP) — R.C.A.F. fighter pilots stand by their planes within a few dozen miles of fallen Kiska and wonder what they're going to do next — they've run out of Japs to shoot. Part of the credit for forcing the Japanese to evacuate Kiska, where they were well established, goes to the Canadian airmen who came to the Aleutians some six months ago and hammered at the enemy every time they could get their planes through a fog.

Fine Pasting
The flyers didn't go over in big bombers but in fighters loaded with as much ammunition as they could carry plus a 500-pound bomb and a few light fragmentation bombs. Combat reports, said P/O D. F. Griffin, in an R.C.A.F. press release, show the Canadians gave the Japanese a fine pasting.
On July 26, the fog lifted for a whole day and the R.C.A.F. pilots went on three missions to Kiska, scoring seven direct hits on the Japanese fighter strip. F/O Louis Gochand, of St. Marguerite, Que., scored a direct hit on a heavy battery at North Head.
Life for the Canadian and American flyers here now resolves itself into "getting through" every day. Their planes sit out on the runways and there is the occasional security patrol. The men take it in turns when weather permits. The Canadians and their American comrades have learned that the Japanese are not supermen, and that they can be made to run.
W/C Bob Morrow, D.F.C., of Montreal, who won his decoration in the Battle of Britain, leads the Canucks here. Once he came down in the Bering Sea and was fished out by a United States Navy rescue boat. A man lasts half an hour in the Bering Sea, they figure, and a few minutes put Morrow in the hospital for some time.

P/O W. L. Pigden
His second-in-command is S/L Bradley (Brad) Walker, D.F.C, of London, Ont., also a veteran of the Battle of Britain. Two of the Canadian detachment's stand-bys are F/L A. W. Roseland, of Vancouver, and F/L R. S. Cox, of Winnipeg.
F/O's A. C. Fanning, Dominion City, Man., and F/O W. M. MacLean, Campbellton, N.B., have taken part in many missions together with F/O Cochand and F/O R. M. Galbrath, of Shelburne, Ont.
F/O Ken Caldwell, of Vancouver, and F/O Dave McDuff, Toronto, were school teachers before the war.
New arrivals here are P/O's W. L. Pigden, Hamilton; W. D. Peacock, Noranda, Que.; H. F. Morse, Vancouver; F/O's S. V. Harside, Edmonton, and B. E. Middleton, Toronto. The day after they reached the advanced base, Middleton and Morse were lucky at the card cut and went on a Kiska mission.
It was their first experience in actual combat and they liked it, but they've run out of Japanese because the Japanese ran out on them.


PL-13118 - 12 June 1943, No.14 Squadron, Advanced Fighter Base, R.C.A.F., Aleutians, Alaska - Two former prominent Canadian skiers now serving as pilots with an R.C.A.F. fighter unit in the Aleutians were happy when they found one advanced base was within walking distance of the Alaskan snowline. Shown above on skis borrowed from American troops are, Flying Officer Louis Cochand, outstanding skiing ace from Montreal (background), & Flying Officer Johnny Irwin, Toronto.


COCHAND, F/O Louis Emile (J13478) - Croix de Guerre (France) - No.442 Squadron
Awarded as per AFRO 1619/45 dated 19 October 1945. No citation.
DHist file 181.009 D.2833 (RG.24 Vol.20632) has recommendation for a Non-Immediate DFC dated 9 September 1944; no action was taken. An identical recommendation was put forward on 9 January 1945, this time for the Croix de Guerre. He had flown 149 sorties (186 hours 45 minutes). Recommendation reads

This officer has completed 158 sorties over enemy territory, many of them against very heavily defended ground targets, and he has at all times proven himself exceptionally keen and aggressive. On August 18th and 19th, Flying Officer Cochand destroyed or damaged twenty-one enemy vehicles bringing his total to sixty-two enemy vehicles destroyed or damaged since the invasion of the Continent. This officer's courageous and determined low level attacks in the face of very intense flak have obtained many fine results and he has won the greatest admiration and respect of all.

Public Records Office AIR 2/9645 has a much shorter citation, presumably the final one.

This officer has completed 158 sorties over enemy territory, many against heavily defended targets. His courageous and determined low level attacks in the face of intense opposition have obtained very fine results.


No Known Victories




Thanks to son Chas for the top photo !

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