NAME ZURBRIGG Franklin Charles
RANK Flight Sergeant / Royal Canadian Air Force
SQUADRON No. 1 Operational Training Unit
17 Group RAF Coastal Command
Silloth Airfield in Cumberland
AGE 25 January 13, 1943 R / 116656
CEMETERY Causewayhead Cemetery
Silloth - Holme Low - Cumberland
PARENTS Charles and Selma Marie Zurbrigg - Exeter
• Franklin was born on June 1, 1917 and attended Lucan’s public and high schools and early on he
became a conscientious student and a resourceful athlete. He very much enjoyed track and hockey, and
in 1936 was the senior track champion at Lucan High School in 1936. He also enjoyed handball,
swimming and tennis.
• Following his high school education, he went off to the London Normal School and was successful in
completing the course, and he then took a teaching position at the Denfield public school.
• He was keen to advance his credentials and enrolled in extension courses at McMaster University in
Hamilton and Western in London. .During the summers of 1939 & 1940 he attended summer school at
McMaster, passed his courses that gave him four credits toward a degree.
• While living in Hamilton, he joined the Fiat Club at the First United Church as he had always been an
active member of his church. He joined the Boy Scout movement and enthusiastically introduced it to
Lucan. Eventually he achieved King’s Scout and then became a Scoutmaster.
• In early July of 1941 after completing his second year of teaching at Denfield, Frank worked for a short
period as a manual training instructor and director of recreation at a vacation school operated by the
United Church. This proved to be his last peacetime employment.
• Franklin enlisted into the Royal Canadian Air Force on July 17, 1941 at London. He was sent to the
Manning Depot in Toronto. Then in August he was posted to St. Thomas at the Technical Training
School, but his great desire to fly prevailed and in less than 2 months he was posted to No. 5 ITS
(Initial Training School) at Belleville. He was also stationed at St. John’s, Fingal and Rivers.
• The aptitudes and skills he displayed earmarked him for navigational / bomb-aimer training and in
December he was posted to No. 9 Air Observer School in Quebec. He had to master the art of chart
reading and dead reckoning, deal with wind velocity, and other weather phenomena.
• Then in late March 1942 he was posted to Fingal to No. 4 Bombing and Gunnery School. If he was
successful here he would achieve the ultimate in “airmanship”. He was successful and on May 10, 1942
he received a promotion to Sergeant and received his wings.
• Sergeant Zurbrigg was obliged, before being posted overseas to go west and take the very demanding
and new instituted Navigation Course at the Central Navigation School in Manitoba.In late July 1942,
he completed the course and after recovering from a tonsillectomy he began the long trip to Halifax.
• During September of 1942 he was posted overseas.
• Originally #1 OTU was formed to train crews on all types of land aircraft, but as the war progressed,
more OTUs were established and #1 came to train the crews that would only fly the Hudson.
• F/S Zurbrigg lost his life when Hudson T 9322 stalled and crashed then burst into flames while taking
off on a local night flight. All crewmembers suffered multiple injuries and all died before they reached
the local hospital.
• Sergeant Zurbrigg’s long passage to war – by way of the embattled North Atlantic and the equally
embattled “Mother Country” - had reached its final destination.