Phillipe Elwyn "Phil" Etienne

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Phil Etienne & Bill Boak

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ETIENNE, F/L Phillipe Elwyn (J15118) - Distinguished Flying Cross - No.406 Sq.
Award effective 27 July 1945 as per London Gazette of that date and
AFRO 1507/45 dated 28 September 1945

Cited with F/L William A. Boak (RCAF Navigator)

As navigator and pilot respectively these officers have participated in many sorties. They have consistently displayed a high standard of skill and co-operation and have set a fine example of devotion to duty. In air fighting Flight Lieutenants Etienne and Boak have destroyed four enemy aircraft.


Born 12 May 1922 at St. Lambert, Quebec
Enlisted in Montreal, 7 November 1940
Trained at
No.2 ITS (Regina - graduated 26 February 1941)
No.6 EFTS (Prince Albert - graduated 22 April 1941)
No.10 SFTS (Dauphin - graduated 15 July 1941)
Posted to UK, August 1941 as a Sgt. Pilot
Further trained at No.58 OTU
Served in Nos.92, 609, 79 and 131 Squadrons
- for short periods
Commissioned in December 1941
Posted to Merchant Ship Fighter Unit, 14 March 1942
Made three trips to sea
Back to UK to instruct at 20[P] AFU, July 1943
To 12[P] AFU in November
& promoted to F/L
To 54 OTU in May 1944 for Night Flying course
Joined 406 Squadron 29 August 1944
Repatriated to Canada, September 1945
Released 24 October 1945
Rejoined RCAF, 20 September 1946
In June 1953 he flew a CF-100, Goose Bay to Montreal
- delivering films of the Queen's Coronation
- for Canadian TV (Operation PONY EXPRESS)
Rose to rank of Wing Commander
Retired 24 November 1969, settling in Montreal


Phil Etienne & Bill Boak
Phil Etienne (top) & Bill Boak


Victories Include :

1/2 January 1945
10/11 April 1945

14/15 April 1945
26/27 April 1945
one Me110
one He111
one Ju88
one Ju88
one u/i 2/e e/a
one He111
destroyed &
damaged &
destroyed OTG

4 / 0 / 1

plus  1 / 0 / 0  On The Ground

(all with F/L Bill Boak as Navigator / Radar Operator)


In June 1955 Avro sent three CF-100's to the Paris Air Show -
Jack Woodman, Roy Bennett and Phil Etienne were the pilots sent to showcase the planes



"It was after things were kind of getting back to normal when the reverend was asked to participate at a funeral service. In all his years at the Church, he had never been asked to give a funeral service. He was a little apprehensive, but agreed when he learned it was for one of his own congregation.
The man's name was Phil Etienne. He had been a flight instructor in the service, and at one time was a member of a supporting group to an Auxiliary Squadron in Montreal in the now defunct RCAF. He was unmarried, well liked, and an active ladies man. Phil and the reverend had been friends for many years in Prince Rupert, and he was pleased to perform the service for an old acquaintance.
He went to Angel's Funeral Home in downtown Prince Rupert to meet with the undertaker and perhaps any friends or relatives that might want to participate in the service in some fashion. The viewing room was all abuzz. There were at least five tearful ladies gathered around the casket, but the object that was the focus of their attention was old Phil. He had a smile on his face that was the envy of the room. The undertaker said he had died from an overdose of Viagra.
Abernathy never knew that Phil was such a ladies man, but the evidence was in plain view and the surrounding females would attest to missing him in a bad way. Good old Phil! Where was his family? Why weren't they here?
The Reverend took it upon himself to try and track them down possibly through the RCAF files in Ottawa.
Abernathy called a friend in the Canadian Armed Forces record branch to put out a search for any of Phil's relatives. The files of the RCAF days were never put on the computer so it was a question of painstaking search of personnel records one by one until they found old Phil Etienne. His achievements were recorded, his flying records were intact, his postings and addresses over the years were recorded, but no relatives were listed except his father and mother, who were long deceased. It was a real dilemma.
The funeral was scheduled for the next day. Abernathy was fully prepared for the service, except old Phil. He looked like the happiest man in the room, not one ready for internment. In talking to the weeping ladies, he found one that was with Phil when he died. Immediately the reverend put on his investigative hat, as Sam Abernathy, and concluded that the key to the whole problem was just that. Phil simply wasn't ready to go and was trying to tell us. Something was missing.
He asked the funeral director to leave himself, Phil and the young lady in complete privacy for at least an hour. The Reverend conducted a private service and when the lady expressed her love, there was something like a tear appeared and the smile faded on Phil's face. He was at peace.
The service was held in the morning out at the cemetery. It was a beautiful spring day. Phil would have loved it. A lone Avro Anson flew over from the local airport and waggled its wings. Tears fell as another good man was laid to rest."

quoted from "The Abernathy Chronicles, Part Five" by Irving McMurren


Not Phil Etienne & Bill Boak
PL-42217 (above) does not show Bill and Phil as the caption claims. If you know who these 2 men are, let me know! UPDATE - The pilot on the right is R.A. McKay. I would imagine the man on the left to be his navigator.




Thanks to Bill Boak's daughter Karyn for the photos & infos !

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