The Airmen's Stories - P/O R C Fumerton
Robert Carl Fumerton was born on 21st March 1913 at Fort Coulonge, Quebec, Canada.
He started out as a bush and timber worker, then contracted diphtheria and was told to rest. Instead he went the North-West Territories and the Yukon where he started surveying, mapping, prospecting and mining for gold over the next seven years.
He got his private pilots licence in 1938 and joined the RCAF at the outbreak of war.
After completing his training at Camp Borden, he left for the UK and on arrival on 8th September 1940 he joined 112 (RCAF) Squadron, a holding unit.
Fumerton volunteered to serve in Fighter Command and converted to Hurricanes at 6 OTU Sutton Bridge before joining 32 Squadron at Acklington on 6th October.
His colleagues, seeing him squeeze his bulky frame into the cockpit, nicknamed him 'Moose'.
On 1st December 1940 he was posted to No. 1 (RCAF) Squadron at Castletown. In June 1941 Fumerton went to 406 (RCAF) Squadron, newly-formed with Defiants at Acklington. He teamed up with Sgt. LPS Bing and their first victory came on 1st September, a Ju88 at night. A week later they damaged a He111.
In October 1941 Fumerton and Bing were posted to 89 Squadron at Colerne and went with it to Abu Sueir, Egypt in November.
On the night of 2nd/3rd March 1942 Fumerton was scrambled to intercept a hostile raider approaching Alexandria. After a very accurate pursuit controlled by Bing, he identified a Heinkel bomber and opened fire from 100 yards.
The enemy gunner immediately returned fire and Fumerton was wounded in the leg. The gun sight and the starboard engine of his Beaufighter were put out of action. In spite of the situation, Fumerton pressed home a second attack and set the enemy aircraft on fire, causing the German crew to bale out; they were later rescued from the sea.
By skilful flying and the use of radio beacons, Fumerton managed to reach an Egyptian airfield, where he discovered that the aircraft's undercarriage was damaged and would not lower. He made a successful wheels-up landing and was taken to hospital, where he soon recovered.
Fumerton was awarded the DFC (gazetted 27th March 1942).
On the night of 7th/8th April they destroyed two He111s.
Above: Fumerton (left) and Bing.
On 22nd June the squadron established a detachment at Luqa, Malta. Flying from there on the 24th, Fumerton and Bing destroyed a Ju87 and a Ju88, on the 29th two Ju88s, on 1st July a Ju88 and on 2nd July another.
Fumerton was awarded a Bar to the DFC (gazetted 21st July 1942).
On 22nd July they destroyed a Ju88, on 10th August they baled out into the sea when both engines of Beaufighter X7748 failed and were picked up ten hours later by an ASR launch.
On the 14th they destroyed a Cant Z1007. Their final victory was on 28th August, a Ju88 destroyed on the ground at Castelvetrano aerodrome, Sicily.
Posted back to Canada in December 1942, Fumerton went to No. 1 OTU Bagotville, Quebec.
In June 1943 he moved to RAF Ferry Command, on staff duties. When he returned to the UK in July he was promoted to Acting Wing Commander and on 25th August took command of 406 (RCAF) Squadron at Valley.
On the night of 14th/15th May 1944 Fumerton destroyed a Ju188, his final victory.
He left 406 Squadron on 26th July 1944, was repatriated to Canada and given command of 7 OTU Debert, Nova Scotia. He was there until June 1945 and was awarded the AFC (gazetted 1st January 1946).
After leaving the RCAF in July 1945, Fumerton returned to mining.
In 1948 he went to Hankow to train Chinese pilots on Mosquitos, then being sold by de Havilland's to the Nationalist Government. It was not a successful venture and he left China in early 1949.
Fumerton became a successful real estate broker in Canada.
He died on 10th July 2006.