Robert Fumerton

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Wing Commander Robert Carl 'Moose' Fumerton (March 21, 1913 – July 10, 2006) was the top Canadian night-fighter flying ace during World War II. [1][2] He was born in Fort-Coulonge, Quebec, and attended Shawville High School (now Pontiac High School) in Shawville, Quebec.

Initially employed as a timber worker, he contracted diphtheria. He then spent seven years in the North-West Territories and the Yukon surveying, mapping, and gold prospecting.

In 1938 he obtained a pilot licence and when war broke out he volunteered to be a pilot with the Royal Canadian Air Force. Fumerton graduated as a pilot in July 1940. Fumerton arrived in England in August 1940 with No. 112 Squadron RCAF, flying the Westland Lysander.Fighter Command was so short of fighter pilots that he joined No 32 Squadron, RAF, flying Hurricanes.

After the battle ended Fumerton moved to No 1 (RCAF) Squadron. In June 1941 he transferred to night fighting duties and joined the newly formed No 406 (RCAF) Squadron, based in Northumberland.

He then joined No.89 Squadron in October 1941, flying night operations over Egypt and later Malta in June 1942. With his observer Sgt. Pat Bing, Fumerton became the island's top-scoring night fighter pilot, claiming nine victories by the end of August.

His first success over Malta on the night of 24 June, an Italian bomber before returning to refuel and rearm. Just before dawn he destroyed another bomber. Four nights later he accounted for two Junkers 88s. On July 1 he downed a Junkers 88, and the following night he shot down another near Gozo. On July 28 he shot down another Junkers 88.

On the night of 10 August Fumerton attacked a force of incoming bombers but shortly after take-off, both his engines failed and he and Bing were forced to bale out over the sea, spending several hours in their dinghies before being rescued next morning by an air-sea rescue launch.

He spent the first six months of 1943 in Canada, before returning to No. 406 in August 1943. he returned, tour-expired, to Canada on 11 August 1944.

He shot down 14 enemy aircraft, the highest tally among RCAF night fighter aces, being awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and Bar. He was also awarded an Air Force Cross for service as Commanding Officer of No. 7 OTU (Operational Training Unit) at Debert, Nova Scotia.

He retired from the RCAF in 1946, and Fumerton returned to mining. In 1948 he went to Hangkow to train Chinese pilots and organise the formation of squadrons for General Chiang Kai-Chek's Chinese Nationalist Air Force. He returned to Canada a year later and became an estate agent.

References

  1. "Wing Commander Carl 'Moose' Fumerton (obituary)". The Times. London, United Kingdom. July 26, 2006.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Bernstein, Adam (July 27, 2006). "Robert 'Moose' Fumerton, 93; Canadian Ace". Washington Post. p. B06. Retrieved 16 March 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>