Ottawa – Funeral services are scheduled today for Lt.-Col. Raymond LaBrosse, one of the most successful and most decorated Canadian agents to infiltrate German lines during the Second World War.
Col. LaBrosse died Saturday. He was 67.
Born in Ottawa, he was 18 when he joined the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals as a private shortly after war began. He was sent overseas in 1940.
In 1942, he was one of the first French-speaking Canadians recruited by British military intelligence and trained as a radio operator for subversive operations in France.
In February, 1943, he and a second agent were parachuted into France near Paris with orders to round up Allied airmen who had evaded capture or escaped from prison and send them through an underground railway to England.
Col. LaBrosse was forced to flee France in June, but took 29 fliers with him through Spain to Gibraltar.
Sent back to France, he helped establish an escape route called the Shelbourne Line, which, before it folded with the Allied invasion in 1944, transported 128 airmen and seven intelligence agents back to England. It was regarded as one of the most successful escape lines in France.
After the invasion, Col. LaBrosse and his team united with French underground units and were involved in their final engagements with the enemy.
Col. LaBrosse was awarded the Military Cross, the U.S. Medal of Freedom and the French Croix de Guerre and Legion of Honor.
After a brief try at civilian life following the war, Col. LaBrosse re-enlisted in 1948 in the Royal 22nd Regiment and fought in the Korean war.