Veteran Stories:
Frank de Verteuil

Air Force

  • Frank de Verteuil (bottom row, left) with his graduating class in Montreal, Quebec, taken before going overseas to Yorkshire, England.

    Frank de Verteuil
  • Frank de Verteuil (top row, far left) with his aircrew in Yorkshire, England.

    Frank de Verteuil
  • Members of Frank de Verteuil's aircrew from January 1945. Front row (L-R): Don (Gunner), Darrel (Bomb Aimer) and Frank de Verteuil (Gunner) and in the top row (L-R) Bill (Pilot), Hal (Navigator), Hugh (Engineer) and Jack (Wireless Operator).

    Frank de Verteuil
  • Frank de Verteuil performs a last-minute clean up of the aircraft they borrowed for a sortie in September 1944.

    Frank de Verteuil
  • Frank de Verteuil in uniform during wartime years.

    Frank de Verteuil
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"On another trip, suddenly the mid upper gunner shouted, “Gee, what’s going on?!” I looked up and saw the plane above us dropping bombs, which fell on either side of us. We must have said our prayers good that morning."

Transcript

I decided that I wanted to join the air force and I went to my boss and told him that’s what I wanted to do and he said, well, I’m sorry, but you’re working in the oil fields and oil is important for the war, we can’t let you go. So I decided, I’m going to try anyhow. And I went into Port of Spain [Trinidad and Tobago] and talked to the RAF there and they said, well, no problem, we can take you, if you really want to go. So I went back and put in my resignation, went back to them and told them that I just didn’t have a job, because I’d put in my resignation. So they told me, they said, well, in the six months we have a contingent going to England and we’ll send you then. So I thought, well, heck, I’m not going to sit around for six months now and do nothing, so I decided to go and talk to the Canadian commissioner. And he said, well, go and have a medical and I guarantee that if you pass the test and go to Canada, they’ll take you. So that’s what I did. The physical went okay, so I went and bought a plane ticket and off I went. Sometime in 1943, I was in training. It was at No. 10 B&G [Bombing & Gunnery] School and I trained in Bolingbrokes [a maritime patrol aircraft, the Bristol Fairchild Bolingbroke]. Prince Edward Island is where we did most of the advanced training. And from Prince Edward Island, we went to England. On my first trip, it was on my birthday and we got quite a welcome; we got shot up a bit but nothing too serious. And so we made it back to base alright. On another trip flying over Weineckle, there was very heavy flak and we got hit and soon lost the two outer engines. We were losing height badly so we took a vote as to whether we should try for England or bail out over France. Well, we decided to try [for England], because our pilot was really one of the best, I’ll always be able to say that for him. So we sent up some flares, called in for escort, and out of nowhere came two friendly fighters. They sure looked good. They escorted us to a great big field at Woodbridge [RAF station]. There we made a perfect landing. Our skipper, Bill Kent, he got the DFC [Distinguished Flying Cross] for that trip. On another trip, suddenly the mid upper gunner shouted, “Gee, what’s going on?!” I looked up and saw the plane above us dropping bombs, which fell on either side of us. We must have said our prayers good that morning.
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