Flight Lieutenant FW (Freddie) Rushmer

Frederick (Freddie) William Rushmer was born in Sisland, Norfolk on 12th April 1910, the son of Henry and Annie Jane Rushmer.

He joined 603 Squadron, Auxiliary Air Force in 1934.

Flight Lieutenant Freddie Rushmer AAF Copyright David Rose Collection
Rushmer (left) with Flying Officer Robin Waterston of 603 Squadron

During the Battle of Britain, Rushmer failed to return from combat with Do17s and Me109s over Biggin Hill on 5th September 1940. It was thought that his Spitfire, X4261, could have been that which crashed at Buckmans Green Farm, Smarden in Kent but this was not confirmed. He was therefore reported as ‘Missing’.

A later investigation of the crash site in 1970 failed to establish the pilot’s identity. However, this was refuted in 1989 when Andy Saunders confirmed with Rushmer’s 3 sisters that a pocket watch found at the site belonged to their brother.

In May 1998, following extensive research by Jean Liddicoat, it was confirmed that the grave of an ‘unknown airman’ in All Saints churchyard in Staplehurst Churchyard was  that of Rushmer. A new Commonwealth Wars Grave Commission gravestone replaced the original unattributed gravestone, and a service of dedication to the fallen pilot was held that September.

Rushmer’s name is on the Runnymede Memorial, Panel 4 and is listed in the Royal Auxiliary Air Force Roll of Honour in the Royal Air Force Church of St Clement Danes.

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