In memory of those who have Crossed the Bar


Adelphis Adrien French, C.D.


(né Franche Dit  Laframboise)


RCN / Chief Warrant Officer, RCAF


Born: 1926, Villemontel, Quebec


Died: 2013


Awards and Decorations:  CVSM, C.D.


FRENCH, Adelphis Adrien - was born in Villemontel, PQ near Rouyn-Norandaand raised in the New Liskeard, ON area. He started school in Quebec in French and restarted school in Ontario in English. At age 13 he was taken out of school, having completed Grade 6, so that he could work with his father and brothers as a lumberjack.


During the war, Adrien French was in the Army Reserve at age 17 but his family was opposed to him fighting England's war. However, as soon as he turned 18 in August1944 he joined the Canadian Army, volunteering for Active Service. Although he never went overseas, Adrien was posted to the Valcartier area as a member of the Chaudiere Regiment and assigned as a guard in a Prisoner of War camp. When the war in Europe ended, his unit began training for jungle warfare but the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the war ended. LCpl Adrien French was released from the Army in 1946. He used his Veteran Benefits to return to school to get his high school equivalency and trades training as a Stationary Engineer.


After completing his trade training, Adrien French joined the Royal Canadian Navy in 1951. He exceled in his Cornwallis Basic course and became a stoker on the aircraft carrier HMCS MAGNIFICENT, the "Maggie". His employment on board the MAGNIFICENT included working in Damage Control, which I am certain was pretty unusual for a brand new seaman. It was while he was on the Magnificent that Dad went to a Fleet dance with six women, and met my mother. They married in Feb 1952 and my sister Loretta was born later that year.


Adrien French unfortunately suffered from chronic seasickness and as a result was granted a medical transfer to the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1953. He used to joke that mom married a sexy sailor and ended up with a sexless airman. I was born in Dec of that year, so that couldn't have been completely true.


After receiving his Basic Air Force training at RCAF Station Clinton, ON, Adrien was promoted to Corporal and transferred to RCAF Station North Bay, ON in 1954. My sister Nancy was born and joined the family there. Less than a year later, he was transferred to RCAF Station Bagotville, PQ. It was there that he showed some unconventional innovation and solved the bowling alley heating control problem. People would bowl and work up a sweat then complain it was too hot. Then they would sit around waiting for their next turn and would cool down then complain it was too cold. Dad installed a thermostat. He didn't hook it to anything but he never got another complaint.All he had to do was give everyone the illusion of control and they were happy.


In 1956, Dad was transferred to RCAF Station Goose Bay, Labrador and while there was promoted to Sergeant. One of my earliest memories was flying into Goose Bay in an old CC-119 Flying Boxcar, being severely motion sick and the crew taking me up to the cockpit for a tour to distract me. I still remember all the dials and controls in that aircraft and the 1 inch gap between the front of the aircraft and the back where you could see all the way to the ground. I also remember that winter when the snow covered the entire house and Dad had to dig a tunnel to the road so they could pick him up for a trouble call.


In 1960, he was transferred to RCAF Station Downsview, ON and while there was promoted to Flight Sergeant. He volunteered to take trouble calls so he could get the troubleshooting experience. He also renewed his studies, getting his 2nd class certificate in Stationary Engineering and a Mechanical Technologists certificate. In 1964, he was transferred to RCAF Station Chatham, NB. In 1966 he became a Warrant Officer in the Canadian Armed Forces and was transferred back to Goose Bay Labrador. In 1967, while at Goose Bay, he was promoted to Master Warrant Officer and transferred to Canadian Forces Base Summerside, PEI.


Throughout this period the family travelled back and forth across eastern Canada to visit relatives. One year we would travel to Newfoundland to visit Mom's family, the next we would travel to Northern Ontario to visit Dad's family. We weren't rich but we always lived well and ate well.


In 1970 Adrien retired from the Canadian Forces and took a job in Dunnville, ON. However, the military was still in his blood and before his terminal leave ended he re-enlisted. He was posted to CFB Downsview, ON, with his responsibilities including heating and airconditioning support to all regular and reserve facilities in the Toronto area including Denison Armouries.


In 1972, Adrien was promoted to Chief Warrant Officer, becoming the youngest CWO in his trade. In 1973 he was transferred to Air Defence Group, in North Bay, ON. In 1975 he was transferred to CFB Valcartier. In 1977, he was transferred to Shilo, MB. And finally in 1979, Adrien retired from the military, becoming the Plant Director at the Dauphin General Hospital. Throughout his career, Adrien maintained his civilian qualifications and was a trouble shooter called in to fix systems no one else could. In 1989 Dad retired for Good and Mom and Dad moved to Kelowna BC. Eventually they moved from there to High River AB and finally back to Ontario in 2004.


Dad was a good husband, a good father and a good mentor. He and Mom were married for almost 61 years. He loved his cards especially euchre where he used to get away with making the craziest trump calls. He also had a wicked sense of humour and was always telling jokes and making the quick comebacks. He worked hard and played hard. He will be sorely missed.


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