Canadian Pilot [Left]

R.89523 Flight Sergeant Harold F. "RUSTY" RUSHTON

Canadian Newspaper "Toronto Star",

Thursday, October 28, 1943

SHOT DOWN while strafing German transport in Italy, Flight SGT Harold B. Rushton, shown here with Gregory Clark, Toronto Star war correspondent, was hidden by friendly Italians until Canadian patrols appeared on the scene. "I'm as weak as a kitten but I'll do," Rushton told Clark when the latter met the patrol party bringing him in on a stretcher.

This picture is part of a British newsreel distributed in Toronto theatre by Pioneer Films.


SGT H.F. Rushton RCAF

Kittyhawk OK-T and pilot 

​​Original caption on reverse of this photograph "Xmas Day hangover and all" 

Flight Sergeant

Harold Frank "Rusty" RUSHTON

Service: Royal Canadian Air Force
Service Number: R.89523 [J.18892]

Mustering: Pilot


Deceased: 6 January 2000


Next of Kin: 


Posting at Discharge: 

Rank: Flight Sergeant

Canadian Pilot of No. 450SQN RAAF

Harold F. 'Rusty' RUSHTON

Copyright © 
450 Squadron RAAF Association Incorporated.

​​All Rights Reserved.

Harold Frank "Rusty" RUSHTON

No. 450 Squadron RAAF

The information contained in this report [right]
is to be treated as 'TOP SECRET'


Statement by
J. 18892 P/O Harold Frank RUSHTON,
​450 (RAAF) Sqn., Desert Air Force

Desert Harassers®


Report by Canadian R.89523 F/Sgt RUSHTON H.F.–Pilot–No. 450 Squadron RAAF on return to Unit after having crash landed during Operational Flight on the 20th September 1943.

On the 20th September 1943, our Squadron was briefed to carry out an armed recce with 2 x 250 lb bombs, on the roads East of Avelline. We sighted 12+ M.E.T. and the Formation Leader gave orders to bomb. After obtaining a direct hit on a truck, I was feeling rather pleased with myself, when I sighted a large truck further along the road and went in to strafe it.

There was intense 20m.m. A/A in the area, so I executed a diving turn on to the target, closing to a range of about 600 yards, when I received a hit in the glycol tank.

Being mortally afraid of being taken Prisoner-of-War, I decided not to pull up and bale out but to get as far away from the area as possible, using my speed and remaining engine power to get distance instead of height. I was partially blinded by glycol, and had to skid my aircraft in order to see out of the side of the cockpit. My No. 2 stayed with me giving me what protection he could and also directions to fly by means of R/T. I managed to stay airborne for about 5 minutes and eventually "belly landed" on rough ground, that proved to be much worse than it looked from the air, about 12 miles inside the German lines.

The aircraft burst into flames on contact with the ground. Being securely strapped in I was not injured in any way and was able to get out of the aircraft immediately, although I had sustained severe burns on both forearms and had my face singed.

Collecting First Aid Outfit, Rations and Water Bottle from the rear of the aircraft, I started to run for cover. I covered only a few yards when I thought it would be better to attend to my burns before a reaction set in. I applied Sulphanilmyde Powder to the burnt portions and gave myself a Morphia injection.

While I was doing this some Peasants approached and tried to help me. With my limited Italian I discovered they were friendly towards Allies and I offered them my 'escape money' if they would help me. They then took me to their cottage approximately a quarter of a mile away, offered me refreshments and then put me to bed and administered homely remedies for burns. (These peasants were exceptionally good to me and were very please with the 'Escape Money' which, I think proved a great influence towards their kindness.

The next day I found I was too weak to travel and decided to stay with the peasants until help should arrive. Eventually word got back to a Canadian Brigade by 'Bush Telegraph' and they sent our a patrol to search for me. The patrol reached me after a couple of days, but thought that it was too dangerous to try and get me out immediately, so they came back two days later with a 'Jeep'. I was lashed on a stretcher on top of the 'Jeep' and left the Peasants midst a hail of Farewells, as by this time I was friendly with all the family and neighbors.


​​​SGT H.F. Rushton RCAF showcased in a newspaper article in the Sundbury Star 5 April 1943

"Sudbury Pilot Blasts Nazis Often on Milk Run"

In many combats in the air during strafing and dive-bombing in North Africa Sgt. H.F. Rushton, of Sudbury, shown here has never been shot down or damaged. An R.C.A.F. pilot, he flies with an R.A.F. Kittyhawk squadron. Attached to R.A.F. fighter and bomber squadrons, Canadians are veterans of the "milk run" to Tobruk, the "mail run" to Bengasi. They have helped to chase Rommel all the way from the Alamein line to Tunisia.

Grand Total Flying Hours


Flight History with No.450SQN

Total Operational Hours


Total Sorties


Total Kittyhawk Hours