The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. R H Furneaux
Rex Horton Furneaux was born in Hove, Sussex on 1st November 1920. After leaving school he was apprenticed to an architect's practice.
Intending to qualify as an airline pilot, he joined the RAFVR in April 1939 as an Airman u/t Pilot. He was called up on 1st September 1939, completed his training and was serving with 3 Squadron at Wick in June 1940.
Above: Furneaux (left) making a post-sortie report to the squadron Intelligence Officer
He moved to 73 Squadron at Castle Camps on 25th September and then to 17 Squadron on 14th November 1940.
He served with 17 Squadron until July 1941, when he was posted to Leconfield to join 134 Squadron. The squadron embarked on HMS Argus on 12th August for Russia and flew off on 6th September to the airfield at Vaenga, near Murmansk.
The squadron was mainly involved in bomber-escort flights but on 6th October they were scrambled to intercept a German attack on the airfield. Furneaux shared a Ju88 confirmed destroyed and a Ju88 probably destroyed.
Above: The underground Dispersal Hut at Vaenga.
Rear row: Sgt. SMcK Clark, Sgt. AJ Gould, Sgt. H Keil, Sgt. R Kirvan
Front row: S/Ldr. A Miller, P/O N Cameron, Sgt. B Campbell, Sgt. RH Furneaux
Above L to R: Sgt. RH Furneaux, P/O D Ramsey, W/Cdr. H Ramsbotham-Isherwood, F/O AJ McGregor, Squadron Medical Officer, Squadron Intelligence Officer, P/O T Elkington.
Furneaux was commissioned in July 1941.
In October 134 Squadron began converting Russian pilots to the Hurricanes and on the 28th all aircraft and equipment was handed over to the Russians. The squadron left Russia on 29th November and returned in HMS Kenya. They landed at Rosyth on 7th December 1941 and then went to Catterick to re-equip.
His subsequent service is currently undocumented until he was released from the RAF in 1946 as a Flight Lieutenant.
Postwar Furneaux went into property and successfully developed a number of central London buildings.
He retired to Duras in SW France in the mid 1980’s and died there on 10th February 2004.
Additional research and Russia images courtesy of Charles Furneaux (son).