November 5, 1920 - May 7, 1944
Justin Gerard Clermont was the son of Joseph Agapit (local master of Titles and Registrar) and Delima M. (nee Lalumiere) Clermont of 130 Galt Avenue, Toronto, Ontario. He was born in Cochrane, Ontario. He had three younger brothers: Robert, 19, twins, Roger and Ernest, 15, and one sister, Olivette, 22. Another sister died at birth. The family was Roman Catholic. At some point Mr. Clermont was at the Ontario Hospital. Justin noted on his attestation papers that three maternal aunts and one maternal uncle were dead.
He had been a hard-rock miner prior to enlistment. He had also done hard labour for Hydro Electric Power Company, underground work for Paymaster Gold Mines and was chute blaster and a machine helper. He worked for McIntyre Gold Mines 1941-1942.
He spoke French and English fluently. He liked swiming, rugby, wrestling and hockey. He earned 1st class honours in mathematics and science during middle school and upper school.
He stood 5' 5 1/2" tall, had brown eyes and black hair. He did not smoke and drank the occasional beer.
"History negative except for history of TB on maternal side of family. A well built stocky young man who is quiet in all actions and mentally. No abnormal physical findings. Reaction to tests very good. Tempermentally hypertonia. Should make good pilot. Left home because father was so hard to get along with. Worked underground in gold mine for two years. Lad of better than average intelligence and initiative. Appears not better than average in emotional stability. Father had nervous breakdown after two years of study in Theology with the Jesuits. Was not in hospital so far as lad knows." January 19, 1942.
He was sent to Summerside PEI October 17, 1942 until February 2, 1943, then to Halifax the next day, arriving overseas on February 18, 1943. At Summerside, he was evaluated: "Average, keen, but inaccurate in air due to inability to grasp ground subjects. Below average in air work." He failed his class in December 1942.
He was taken to 55 OTU July 6, 1943, then to 56 OTU October 26, 1943. Tealing to 175 Squadron November 18, 1943.
On May 7th, 1944 Justin Gerard Clermont was killed when his Hawker Typhoon JR257/HH-W exploded over Stansted Estate, Rowlands Castle, Hampshire. A witness report from F/Sgt R. C. Dale: "The flames sprouted from every slot in the cowling assembly; a particularly large sheet of flame coming from the hoop-like join just rear of the exhaust tube, completely obscuring the cockpit and pilot from my view." This occurred five minutes after their take-of from Tangmere, after refuelling, with plans of returning to base after an operation, at 2110 hours in formation, at 1300 feet. The Court of Inquiry was unable to determine the cause of the fire. They were awaiting the results of the AIB investigation.
A wooden memorial was erected at Stansted Park by Mr. Graham Alderson in 1944. The memorial has since been rebuilt. See links below for more details.