Eugene Lawrence (Jeep) Neal DFC was born in Millihochet, Maine, USA. He had graduated in Science from Queen’s University, Kingston Ontario and prior to his enlistment in the RCAF at Quebec City, was living in Beauharnois, (about five miles west of the Montreal suburb of Chateauguay) on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River.
On October 10, 1940, he graduated, as a pilot, from No. 1 Service Flying Training School at Camp Borden, Ontario. By the time Neal arrived overseas, in the UK, it was late in October 1940 and the Battle of Britain was over. Soon after arriving in the UK he was posted to No. 1 Squadron, Fighter Command, flying Hurricane aircraft from an RCAF station in Scotland.
By April 1941, the squadron had moved south to Digby in Lincolnshire and had been renumbered 401 Squadron. In September 1941, the Squadron converted to Spitfire aircraft. On November 22, 1941 during a fierce fight with with three Focke-Wulf aircraft in an area near the Brest peninsula in France, Neal was shot down and forced to bail out over the English Channel. Although he was rescued two hours later, he automatically became a member of the "Goldfish Club" for having to parachute into the water below him.
By May 29, 1942, after 88 sweeps over enemy territory and many low level attacks, Neal was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) for his skill and valour. His citation reads as follows:
"This officer has proved himself to be a skilled and determined pilot. He has participated in sweeps, convoy patrols, and other operations. Throughout he has displayed keenness and has set an inspiring example. On one occasion his aircraft was very extensively damaged by enemy fire; despite this he skillfully landed it in a field. On another occasion after several combats and running short of petrol he was forced to leave the aircraft by parachute whilst over the sea. he was rescued some two hours later. He has destroyed a Messerschmidt 109 and assisted in the destruction of another."
During one of his operations he shared with another fighter pilot, the "honour" of shooting down an outstanding pilot of the German air force who was a confidante of both Hitler and Goering, Oberleutnart Joachim Hahn, a staff officer who had won the Knight’s Insignia, which is given to a German flier after he has destroyed 20 enemy fighters.
In July 1942 Neal was sent home to Canada where in November and December, he became Commanding Officer of No. 130 Fighter Squadron, based at Bagotville, Quebec. Before returning to the UK, Neal was married in Montreal. The wedding took place New Year’s Eve and three days later he was over the Atlantic flying back to the UK where he was named Commanding Officer of his former Squadron (401).
Postwar he joined one of Canada’s largest paper companies where he rose to become a senior executive.
On August 1977, Neal passed away at Montreal (Pierrefonds).