Meeting the man behind Turnip Termite
Frank Speer who had Turnip Termite painted on his fighter aircraft was the next veteran I had arranged to interview. He had written a couple of books about his time as a pilot in WW2 and at the time was still doing presentations about his extraordinary exploits.
Frank was captured by the Germans and escaped – twice! He was almost shot by his own side too. What was so lovely about Frank was his sense of humour. His ability to laugh out loud as he remembered walking, and I mean walking away out of the line of prisoners being marched through a town to eventual freedom.
If anyone had the sort of determination and nerves of steel needed to do that, Frank Speer did.
I’m sad to say that since then Frank has died. I spoke to his son after Nose Art and Pin Ups was released and was glad to hear he was still giving talks right up to the end.
One of the stories Frank told was about a fellow pilot called Kidd Hofer who had Salem Representative painted on his aircraft. Kidd was a maverick who, for fun, used to take his German Shepherd dog up in his aircraft, fly low over the base and duck down so it looked as though the animal was flying the plane.
Kidd was killed during the war but his story is told by Frank in the film.
Nose Art and Pin Ups is available from Amazon UK and Ebay at £15.99 plus p&p. For USA and Canadian fans it is available in NTSC from Amazon. Please support this project and help keep these veterans’ stories alive.
Gail Downey, Nose Art Films firstname.lastname@example.org