b. 22/07/1917 Three Rivers, Quebec, Canada. d. 28/07/1969 Sarnia, Ontario, Canada.
DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 12/03/1940 RAF Upwood, Huntingdonshire.
Ernest Ralph Clyde “Chris” Frost (1917-1969) was born on 22nd July 1917 in Three Rivers, Quebec, Canada, the youngest of 12 children of William and Mary Ellen Frost (nee Patriquin). Sadly, his eldest brother Ernest Ralph Frost had been killed in action just three months before his birth on the Western Front in France. Therefore, when young Ernest came into the world, they christened him with his brother’s first two names and added the name Clyde. To make things even more confusing he was always known through his life as Chris.
As a teenager, Chris excelled as a downhill skier while at school in Three Rivers (1923-1934). After school, he took a course in bookkeeping at the Three Rivers Commercial School until December 1935, when he took a job as a Time Keeper at Canadian Iron Foundries. In 1937, he decided to leave his job and paid his way across the Atlantic Ocean to arrive in England, and enlisted in the RAF.
On 12th March 1940, at RAF Upwood in Huntingdonshire, he was serving in 90 Squadron, when two Blenheim bombers taking off from RAF Upwood collided, bursting into flames. Frost and Leading Aircraftman Michael Campion were among the first to arrive at the scene, where the crew of one aircraft had escaped unaided. Not knowing that the pilot was the sole occupant of the other bomber, Frost entered the rear cockpit, which was full of smoke and fumes, searching for the wireless operator. Satisfying himself that no one was there, he climbed out and nearly exhausted, ran to the front cockpit, where Campion was trying to rescue the pilot, Sergeant Alphonse Hermmels. Working heroically, and at great risk to themselves, they extricated the pilot from the burning wreckage. Shortly afterwards the petrol tanks exploded and the whole aircraft was rapidly burned out. Unfortunately, Hermmels died of his injuries.
For their actions, both Michael Campion and Ernest Frost were awarded the Empire Gallantry Medal of the Military Division. Both men would not actually receive their EGMs, as less than six months later, the George Cross was instituted and all EGM holders were able to exchange. Ernest Frost attended an investiture in October 1941 at Buckingham Palace. On a period of leave, Ernest returned to Canada and on 27th December 1943 he married Patricia Small, and they went on to have four children : Mary Jacqueline, Patricia Wilma, David Errol and Peter Karl. On his release from the RCAF in October 1945, Chris took an accountant’s course at the Shaw Business School in Toronto, and worked in accounts in Blenheim, Ontario. In 1948, he tried to rejoin the RCAF due to the political situation in Europe at time, but was refused.
Despite his rebuff, he succeeded in rejoining in 1949 in Toronto as Aero Engine Technician. On his retirement from the RCAF in 1964 his final rank was Squadron Leader. He spent a good amount of this service in Germany where he played hockey for 427 Squadron.
Chris then became a commercial pilot for Great Lakes Airlines in Sarnia from 1967 until his death on 28th July 1969 aged just 52 from cancer. He was buried in Lakeview Cemetery, Sarnia, Ontario. His medals including the GC, 1939-45 Star, Defence Medal 1939-45, Canadian Volunteer Service Medal with clasp, War Medal 1939-45, 1953 QEII Coronation Medal, 1967 Canadian Centennial Medal & Canadian Forces Decoration were donated to the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa in 1970 by his daughter Patricia.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: CANADIAN WAR MUSEUM, OTTAWA, CANADA.
BURIAL PLACE: LAKEVIEW CEMETERY, SARNIA, ONTARIO, CANADA.
Richard Yielding – Image of Frost GC at 1968 VCGCA Reunion.