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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. F Usmar


Frank Usmar was born on 16th September 1915 and was studying accountancy when he joined the RAFVR on 30th June 1938 as an Airman u/t Pilot. He began his weekend flying at 23 E&RFTS Rochester.

Called to full-time service at the outbreak of war, Usmar was posted to 4 ITW Bexhill on 30th October.
He moved on to 6 FTS Little Rissington on 9th December and was awarded his flying badge on 29th April 1940.

After completing the course Usmar went on leave prior to going to 6 OTU Sutton Bridge. When he arrived home a telegram awaited, telling him to report to 41 Squadron at Catterick, which he did on 18th June. His conversion to Spitfires was carried out on the squadron.


41 Squadron - Sgt. RA Beardsley, Sgt. HR Mitchell, Sgt. F Usmar


On 15th August Usmar destroyed a He 111 and damaged a Me110 and a Do17, on 6th September he damaged a Me110, on the 9th he claimed a Me109 probably destroyed and on the 18th he had two Me109's confirmed.

Usmar was shot down on 27th September when 41 Squadron was jumped by Me109's. With his cockpit in flames and wounded in the right leg he managed to bale out, intending to make a delayed drop. However, he pulled his ripcord almost immediately and as he floated down he beat out his burning tunic and used his wireless lead as a tourniquet to stop his right leg bleeding. Usmar landed in an apple-orchard and was approached by hop-pickers, who mistook him for a German. Once convinced he was not they took him to the doctor at Yalding. He was taken to Preston Hall Hospital, Maidstone. Usmar's home was at West Malling and his parents had watched him come down, not realising who it was.

In June 1941 he volunteered for night fighters and was posted to 141 Squadron at Ayr, moving later to 410 (RCAF) Squadron at Drem. Commissioned in December 1941, Usmar came off operational flying in April 1942 and became a Blind Approach instructor.


Above: with Sgt. AJB Hithersay (right) at 141 Squadron.


In August 1944 he transferred to Admin duties and was appointed Station Adjutant at 61 OTU.

Usmar went to the Accountancy Branch in 1946 and was granted a Permanent Commission in 1948.

He retired from the RAF on 16th September 1964 as a Squadron Leader.

He died in 1994.

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