The Airmen's Stories - F/Lt. F W Rushmer
Born in Sisland, Norfolk on 12th April 1910, Frederick William Rushmer joined 603 Squadron, Auxiliary Air Force in 1934.
He was called to full-time service with the squadron on 23rd August 1939 and was appointed leader of Red Section. On 30th July 1940 Rushmer shared in destroying a He111 south-east of Montrose and his aircraft was hit by return fire. On 29th August he made a forced-landing at Bossingham in Spitfire P9459 after combat over Deal, slightly wounded.
(Above: Rushmer (left) with F/O Robin Waterston of 603)
Rushmer failed to retum from combat with Do17's and Me109's over Biggin Hill on 5th September 1940. His Spitfire, X4261, could have been that which crashed at Buckmans Green Farm, Smarden. The pilot from this aircraft was buried as 'unknown' in All Saints' churchyard, Staplehurst on 11th September.
An investigation of the crash site in 1970 failed to establish the pilot's identity. Rushmer was reported 'Missing' and his name is on the Runnymede Memorial, Panel 4. However a campaign to prove that the unknown airman was indeed Rushmer was begun in 1989 and his three surviving sisters were traced by Andy Saunders. Positive identification of Rushmer was established by a pocketwatch found at the site in 1970, this being recognised by the dead airman's sisters, In May 1998 a named headstone replaced the original and a service of dedication was held in September.
Further details of the search can be seen at: