Turner, Francis Leon Arthur “Frank”

Regiment:  2nd Battalion Edmonton Regiment

Regimental No:  R.142797

Rank:  Warrant Officer 2nd Class

Force:  Royal Canadian Air Force

Francis Leon Arthur Turner was born on September 21, 1922, in Grande Prairie, Alberta to Charles Thomas McLinden and Jeanne (Dubois) Turner.

In Frank’s early days, he worked for his father’s construction company and volunteered as needed as an announcer for the local radio station CFGP.  He took radio classes and built radio sets, making radio a hobby.  He played baseball/softball extensively, and enjoyed volleyball, swimming and playing tennis.

Frank enlisted in the Canadian Airborne Regiment (CAR) March 14, 1941 at the age of 19 wishing to become a pilot or a wireless operator.  He was transferred to RCAF active service Dec. 18, 1941.  He served as a pilot and navigator and saw active service in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.  Following the end of the war, he was released from active service and transferred to the Reserve, General Section, Class “E” on February 15, 1945.  His medals included Canadian Volunteer Service Medal (CVSM), War Medal, and Pilot’s Flying Badge.

Frank married a local nurse Elizabeth “Betty” Ellen Brown on September 20, 1948, in Grande Prairie.  They had one daughter, Frances Elizabeth (Turner) Ellis who was born on September 21, 1949, in Grande Prairie, now residing in Nelson, B.C., (married Lee Carmel Ellis).  Frank moved to Grande Cache in 1971 for work running Alpine TV, and then to McBride, B.C. with his second wife, Verna Mae Smith (married in Edmonton in 1971).

Frank was a talented electrician and local businessman in Grande Prairie and McBride, B.C.  He was one of a group of people who pioneered television to the Peace River Country.  He also had an active interest in fishing, hunting, horticulture, and his greenhouse.

Frank was a member of the Royal Canadian Legion and the Oddfellows.  He retained an active interest in flying, being a bit of a daredevil, and was an avid ham radio operator maintaining qualifications as a certified instructor and examiner until his death.  He volunteered at the McBride RCMP detachment and liaised with local telecommunications, forestry, and ambulance personnel.

Frank died on May 10, 2002, in McBride, B.C., at the age of 79 and following cremation, his ashes were dispersed as he wished.  Verna died on March 24, 2007, in Hines Creek, Alberta, at the age of 76.  Betty died on June 1, 2016, in Edmonton, Alberta at 96 years.

Source:  Canadian Military Personnel Records of the Second World War, Surname file, News clippings, Official birth, marriage, and death certificates, Obituaries, Niece Suzanne (Turner) Dunn, National Archives of Canada.