War creates some remarkable heroes. It makes people perform beyond the limits of normal human endurance; through immense pain and suffering, these heroes are able to perform duties beyond those expected or even believed possible.
There were many airmen who carried out these duties with little or no recognition for their actions, never to speak of them or be acknowledged for them. Georges Nadon, a French-Canadian Spitfire pilot, is one of them.
Georges had a long career, he fought both in the skies of Britain and Malta, and completed two ‘tours’ that amounted to an incredible 277 operations and more than 500 hours in the air.
Georges Nadon’s flying career began with 122 Squadron based at RAF Hornchurch, where he flew Spitfires. Of the 27 original pilots of 122 Sqn, only Georges and one other pilot survived. On Christmas Eve 1943 he sailed to Malta, where he would fly – on average and against incredible odds – four sorties a day with 185 Sqn, defending the small island and vital supply routes through the Mediterranean.
At the end of this tour, he returned to England and onto his home country Canada, where he was married.
His second tour began in June 1944, with 403 Sqn (RCAF) based at RAF North Weald, in Essex. They then moved across to France where they gave cover to the advancing allied armies. He eventually left flying service in March 1945.
In 2015, as part of the Canadian commemorations of the Battle of Britain, an image of his face was painted on the tail of the Canadian CF-18 demo aircraft, an image seen by thousands; but yet he still remains relatively unknown and unrewarded.
To find out more about this remarkable man, visit Pierre Lagace’s fabulous 403 Sqn blog, containing information, letters and photographs of Georges Nadon. A man who achieved great things defending the skies over countries far from home, and a man who deserves much greater recognition than he gets.