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"FUM" 2006 Obituary


FUMERTON o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2006-07-13 published
FUMERTON, Robert Carl " Moose"
Died on July 10, 2006. He was preceded in death by his wife, the love of his life, Madeleine "Bobby" FUMERTON. He cared for her with unlimited devotion throughout their marriage and in her long battle with Alzheimers. Carl will be missed but never forgotten by the family who loved him so much and whose lives he so influenced-his children Maureen (Michael) SHIPTON, Richard (Patti) FUMERTON, Gail (Michael) SWEENEY, Paddy (Alan) FUMERTON, and Debbie FUMERTON, his grandchildren Jennifer, Kelly, Tara, Rob, Madeleine, Carlin, Margot, David, Jamie, and Lian, and his great-grandchildren Oliver, Gabriel, and Max. Carl was born March 20, 1913 in Fort Coulonge, Quebec. He left giant footprints. With little formal education he became an extraordinarily educated man through his life-long love of learning. Before World War 2, he worked as a lumberjack, a bush pilot, and a gold prospector. During the war he became a fighter pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force, fought in the Battle of Britain, provided air cover for the invasion of Normandy, and eventually became Wing Commander of the 406 night fighter squadron. His wartime exploits are legendary and he earned the D.F.C. and bar, and the A.F.C. When combat ended he was Canada's leading night fighter pilot. Following the war, after another year of prospecting, and a brief stint in China as a flight trainer, he became a successful real estate agent to major land developers in Toronto. Though he was an honoured military hero to his nation, he was even more of a hero to his family. Through the life he lived, the people he touched, and the generations who will always remember him, he will live forever. Visitation will be held at the Billingsley Funeral Home, 430 Ravenscliffe Road, Huntsville, on Saturday from 4-6 p.m. Funeral Service in the chapel on Sunday July 16, 2006 at 1: 00 p.m. In lieu of flowers donations to the Alzeimers Society would be appreciated by the family.

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FUMERTON o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.toronto_star 2006-07-19 published
A most distinguished fighting ace
'Moose' received honours for service
World War II pilot undaunted in face of enemy
By Meghan HURLEY, Staff Reporter, Page B7
"Moose" FUMERTON did most of his fighting in the dark in a plane that was notoriously difficult to fly.
But he survived the Battle of Britain, two crash landings and a bullet wound to emerge from World War 2 as Canada's top-scoring night-fighter ace, credited with destroying 14 enemy aircraft and damaging a 15th.
He was awarded two Distinguished Flying Crosses and an Air Force Cross. The citation for his second Distinguished Flying Cross called him "a most tenacious and skilful pilot, whose determination to destroy the enemy is outstanding."
Wing Cmdr. Robert Carl FUMERTON died July 10. He was 93.
His eldest daughter, Maureen SHIPTON, said the words "courage and devotion" sum up her father's career in the Royal Canadian Air Force.
"When an enemy gunner returned fire, he was wounded with a bullet in his leg, but he still persevered and got the aircraft all the way back to base," SHIPTON said. "He was absolutely determined, and that's what made him such a successful fighter pilot."
He not only brought his only plane back safely on one engine he attacked the enemy aircraft a second time and brought it down in flames.
FUMERTON gave the Royal Canadian Air Force its first night victory on September 1, 1941, as he and Sgt. Pat BING, who became his long-time navigator, were on a practice flight near the coast of northeast England in their twin-engined Bristol Beaufighter. They were diverted to intercept a German Junkers 88 bomber flying in from the North Sea.
From less than 50 metres away, FUMERTON set the bomber's starboard engine on fire. After a second attack, the plane crashed. FUMERTON and BING found the wreckage the next day and hacked off one of its Iron Cross markings. They hung it in the crew room of the newly formed 406 (Royal Canadian Air Force) Squadron.
FUMERTON was born on March 20, 1913, in Fort Coulonge, Quebec With little formal education -- but, his family says, a lifelong love of learning -- he began work as a lumberjack and then a gold prospector and miner. He learned to fly and in 1938 qualified for a bush-pilot's licence.
When the war began, he volunteered for the Royal Canadian Air Force, and in August 1940 was with the first Canadian squadron, 112, to arrive in England.
With the Battle of Britain raging, as Germany attempted to destroy the country's air defences as a prelude to invasion, Fighter Command was short of pilots. FUMERTON transferred to 32 Squadron, flying the Hawker Hurricane. He was a big man, a hockey player more than 6 feet tall, and he found the cockpit a tight squeeze. His fellow pilots nicknamed him "Moose."
After the Battle of Britain in October 1940, FUMERTON was posted briefly to another squadron before joining 406 to train as a night fighter flying the Bristol Beaufighter. The plane, with its two powerful engines, had a reputation for being unforgiving with any but the most competent pilots.
Only weeks after his first victory, FUMERTON and Bing were transferred to 89 Squadron in Egypt. He was wounded on March 2, 1942, after intercepting a Heinkel bomber near Alexandria. As FUMERTON attacked, an enemy gunner fired back, hitting him in the leg, disabling the Beaufighter's starboard engine and destroying the gunsight. FUMERTON, flying on his port engine, returned to the fray and brought the Heinkel down.
When he tried to land his crippled fighter, he discovered the undercarriage was smashed, so he landed the plane on its belly. After a short stay in hospital, he was back in the air and in a 15-minute span shot down two Heinkels. He left Egypt with his first Distinguished Flying Cross.
As Germany and Italy mounted a merciless onslaught on Malta, a tiny but vital Allied stronghold in the Mediterranean, FUMERTON and Bing arrived there in June 1942. FUMERTON quickly became the top-scoring night-fighter pilot on the island with nine "kills" in only two months.
His first came on June 24, an Italian bomber. He landed, refuelled and rearmed his Beaufighter, took off again and as dawn was beginning to break, downed another bomber. Two Junkers 88s fell to his guns four nights later, a fifth on July 1 and a sixth the following night. His seventh, another Junkers 88, was destroyed July 28.
With German bombers attacking en masse on August 10, FUMERTON and BING took off to intercept them, only to have both engines fail as they were about to swoop in on an enemy plane. FUMERTON managed to "ditch" the Beaufighter in the sea -- a miracle in itself, given the plane's feared reputation as a quick sinker and both men scrambled out and inflated their dinghies. They were picked up the next morning by Maltese fisherman.
SHIPTON said she remembered her father telling her they offered the fliers a drink to celebrate their rescue. "Before Dad drank the toast, he sniffed it and it was iodine!" she said, laughing. "I guess the fishermen were so excited it was their first rescue that they poured from the wrong bottle. Dad almost got rescued to be killed."
With his second D.F.C., FUMERTON returned to Canada at the end of 1942. He was back in England by July 1943, to take command of 406 Squadron, now flying twin-engined Mosquitoes. He helped provide air cover for the D-Day landings in Normandy on June 6, 1944. His final air victory had come on May 15, when he destroyed a Junkers over the English Channel.
In Canada, FUMERTON took command of a Mosquito training squadron in August 1944, and received the Air Force Cross for "exemplary efficiency."
It was while he was stationed in southern England that he met his future wife, Madeleine REAY, a Royal Air Force flight controller, "over the airwaves," said their eldest son, Richard. "They were fighting over directions. He liked the sound of her voice, so he looked her up after."
When the war ended, FUMERTON went back to gold mining in Canada's north, leaving his wife with relatives in Ontario.
"A few days after he left, she had taken a boat to get herself out there," SHIPTON said. "They made them a tent and they called it the honeymoon tent. He left a couple of other times for work, but she kept showing up until he finally gave up and went into real estate."
But FUMERTON's flying career wasn't quite over. In 1948, he spent time in China teaching Gen. Chiang Kai-shek's pilots to fly Mosquitoes and organizing three squadrons for the general's Nationalist air force.
The family lived for many years in Toronto. FUMERTON, predeceased by his wife, nursed her through Alzheimer's.
"She had Alzheimer's and he was there caring for her," SHIPTON said. "He looked after her by himself even in his 90s."
FUMERTON leaves five children, 10 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

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