WATCH: Second World War and Korean War veteran Frank Poole is one of four Vancouver Island veterans featured in a Remembrance Day short film made by Broadmead Care. Ceilidh Millar reports.
Retired Captain Frank Poole says it can be difficult for him to recount his stories from the Second World War and the Korean War.
“That is one of the hardest parts,” he said. “It never goes away.”
The 93-year-old veteran from Victoria says the horrific memories of those wars have become a battle in their own right.
“I have to deal with the memories and I have nightmares sometimes,” Poole explained. “I dream that I’m back there and reliving all of this.”
In 1936, Poole discovered his love for aviation in his hometown of Cape Breton.
“I was about 12-years-old when I made my first flight,” he said. “But I didn’t think there would be a war.”
Only a few years later, Poole joined the Royal Canadian Air Force as a flying officer.
“I did my training and went overseas,” Poole explained.
In 1945, Poole, who was a sergeant at the time, was sent on a mission to Hanover, Germany on board the Royal Canadian Air Force’s Handley Page Halifax Heavy Bomber.
Pooleoneas on of six airmen on the flight.
“At the time we didn’t have any knowledge that some of the enemy’s night fighters were equipped with upward firing guns,” he said. “A night fighter got underneath our aircraft and fired upwards into the wing and set it on fire. [I thought] any second now the gas tanks are going to explode.”
The plane began to free fall at 18,000 feet in the air.
“I was kneeling down but there was nothing but air and the whole back of the aircraft was gone. I was catapulted out by the explosion.”
He was knocked unconscious, but came to mid fall and managed to pull the ripcord on his parachute.
“The shoot opened and just seconds later I hit the ground. Another second or two and I wouldn’t have made it at all.”
Poole and one other crew member were the only ones who survived the battle.
“That was the end of my war,” he said.
Captain Poole enlisted in the armed forces again when war broke out in Korea, but this time he joined the Canadian Army.
In 1971, he retired from the Canadian Armed Forces and moved to Victoria.
Captain Poole is one of four veterans from the Broadmead Care Facility in Saanich sharing their stories for a Remembrance Day short film.
The film, produced by the health care facility, is titled Vancouver Island’s Veterans and will be available to the public in the coming weeks.
With only a handful of Second World War veterans still alive, Poole says it’s more important than ever that this Remembrance Day, and every day, we honour the heroes who walk among us.