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Search for "Butch" - such a sad story
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Search for "Butch" - such a sad story

Sgt. Fred (Butch) Rushton 547th Squadron.

Received from Doreen 8 June 2000
Dear Joan,
I don't know if you received my E-mail, so l thought l'd send another. l am hoping you will be able to find information regarding Butch, who was stationed in Cornwall, then at Leuchars, Fife. He was a rear gunner in a Lancester Bomber? His plane was shot down over the coast of Norway in 1944. l know he had one sister, and in 1944 his home address was; 10 Brown Street, Barrow-in-Furness. Joan any thing you can find out about him, a picture, where he is buried, any thing, there were so many things that we had planned for our future, but God deemed it other-wise.
Thank You,

Sent to Mr Rushton of the Barrow in Furness Evening Mail - 9 June 2000
I rang the Barrow in Furness Evening Mail after talking to a Mr Thomas Rushton in Barrow. He told me of your existence and when I spoke to the editorial department they told me you were on the 'Memories Section'. Could this be fate taking a hand. The story goes like this:

My name is Joan and I read all the internet pages of Missing People and Long Lost Loved Ones. I have a great tool at my disposal in the form of a programme called UK Info Disk. Because it is in my nature to help people I emailed about 3-4000 of these people giving them a glimmer of light in their searches. I have done exceedingly well to date. Enough about me.

I had a lady in America email me asking me to make contact with relatives or find out anything about Fred Rushton on her behalf. Details are as follow - I do hope you may know of him or, if not wonder if you could possibly post a message on your page.

Doreen of America looking for information about Sgt. Fred (Butch) Rushton, 547th Squadron of 10 Brown Street, Barrow in Furness. She knows he had a sister but cannot remember her name. Fred was stationed in Cornwall then at Leuchars, Fife. He was a rear gunner in a Lancaster bomber (unsure about plane type). His plane was shot down over the coast of Norway in 1944. She would love to make contact with the sister of Fred or anyone who remembers him. If there is any information about if his body was ever recovered, where he might be buried or even a picture would be most gratefully received by Doreen.

Her last paragraph to me was:
"Joan, anything you can find out about him, a picture, where he is buried, anything, there were so many things that we had planned for our future, but God deemed it otherwise." I do hope you can help in some way. Many thanks in anticipation.

The newspaper rang me and wanted to do a story about the search and as I was relating the section below that Doreen had sent me I was sobbing my heart out it was so touching.

Doreen's memories:
Hello Joan,
l was so excited when l received your latest E-mail, my heart was beating so furiously, it seemed the years had fallen away, and Butch l would be meeting to walk along the cliffs, or the sea-shore at Treyaron Bay, Cornwall  we used to recite poetry - our favourite was, "l must go down to the sea again, for the call of the running tide, is a wild call, and a clear call, that will not be denied." Oh how wonderful life was then. l remember at Treyaron Bay, there was a bird santuary on a small island in the bay, which was accessible at low tide, we climbed to the top of this island several times, there was a wonderful view of the surrounding area to be enjoyed, such a serene setting, of course this could only happen when Butch came back from his patrol.

Joan l have never talked to anybody the way l'm opening up to you. These memories have been locked away, they are all I have - memories and his letters, but l feel comfortable with you, thank you.

Butch and l met when l was a nanny and the family took me with them to Treyaron Bay. One morning as l was with the two children on the beach, two R.A.F. Sgt's were taking a stroll, they spoke to us, played with the children, and that's how we met. We arranged to meet when Butch returned from his patrol, the aerodrome was a few miles away, from there the crews were transported to a Hotel at Treyaron Bay, where they rested until they reported back for duty and another patrol. We had so many happy times, climbing up cliffs, having no fear of falling, although, one time l started to slip down the shale as l was climbing, thank God. Butch grabbed my arm, when we reached a safe spot, we looked down and looked at the big black rocks at the bottom of the cliff, that was a very scary moment. I would meet Butch, when l knew he was back, about 6am - before my work day started. We would walk along the beach, talking, holding hands,and enjoying the beauty of all that surrounded us, it was our own private heaven. During my work day he would visit us the children and l as we fished and played in this large pool that was left there after the tide had gone out. It was big enough to swim in. l have so many happy memories of our time together. Then it was time to leave, our holiday was over. We wrote often, as time passed our feelings for each other deepened, Butch was talking our future together, moving overseas after the war was over.

He was transferred to Leuchers, his letters told me about his walks with Bob along the sea shore. It was about this time when he wrote that some of the planes were not returning from their missions, he was very worried - l could sense that from his letters. Then one day I received a phone call from Bob, Butch would not be returning, his plane was shot down - I died that day too.

A few years later I married - it was a disaster -  it ended in divorce. I married an American who was in the Army, when he returned to the U.S I stayed in England, I didn't want to leave. His enlistment was finished, so he joined the U.S. Air-Force and was stationed in Germany. This was in 1956 - in 1959 our daughter and I came to America with him - he died in 1966.

In 1968 l started working for the Federal Government as a Federal Food Inspector. I retired 1999 March 21st; two months before my 70th birthday. I cannot say that my life has not been interesting, but l would have been happy if only Butch had been at my side. He used to sing a song called "Star Eyes" it was our song. Joan I do not know if his family knew about us, some-how it never crossed my mind, at that time the world comprised of only two people. I do hope I've filled you in on the details you needed to know.

Joan's Worst Ever Day - 11 August 2000
Dear Doreen
I haven't replied sooner purely because I was waiting for some information being sent by post to me from Barrow. I am sorry to say I am a bearer of bad news but at least you will know the answer now and can have some solace in that you have had happy memories of your time with him for so many years. It looks like Fred and Bob played a dirty rotten trick on you and one which I think could never be forgiven but it's too late now for recriminations. Apparently Bob told you a lie and I think, to put it bluntly, "it was a bloody rotten thing to do". Fred did not die over Norway. Maybe this is why I got no response from his family. I had found out weeks ago from the RAF records office at Innsworth and, whilst I believed them, I wanted to wait further clarification if there was any response via the article before I broke the news to you. The attached newpaper reports were taken into the newspaper offices by a Mr Peter Yuile in response to the article. I think Mr Yuile had kept them because maybe he knew them. I will try to make contact with him later as he must be out or on holiday.
EasyPhoto Photograph     EasyPhoto Photograph

EasyPhoto Photograph

I have made contact with the RAF records in Gloucester to see if they can tell me the names of any of his colleagues that are mentioned in the article, especially BOB. Do you recall his surname? They will look on Monday. I am so sorry to have brought you this bad news and hope it doesn't distress you too much - I know you will be upset and hope you will forgive me being the bearer of bad tidings. I could have kept it from you but I had to tell you because you were determined to travel all avenues to find out about him.

Newspaper articles to follow in a minute - file was so big it wouldn't transmit so am having to send them separately.
All my love

From Doreen - 11 August 2000
Dear Joan,
Thank you for your sincere letter, yes it was a very cruel thing to do, but life throws one some awful punches at times. I believed Bob when he told me the story. I was going to shred the letters, but I think I'll wait awhile - after all these years it's a hard thing to do. I'm sure they did not realize that the lie I was told would have such an impact for so many years. It was wartime and they were under a lot of stress. I know that sounds feeble, but what can I say. Whatever happened, I hope that he has, or had a very happy life, I had him for a while, and will still remember----------------
I cannot write any more just now,
Will wait for the rest of your information.

From Joan- 12 August 2000
I am sorry if I am making you unhappy but felt I needed to explain myself. I hope that the bitty photo helped in some way. Maybe you could contact his widow if she is still around and share memories. That may help no matter what he did - at least you will know more about him. The details are in the newspaper cuttings and if you want to go down this avenue I would love to help. With love and concern about you. Forget the possum tonight - let your dog, Peanuts, get him for a change!!!
:-) just discovered smiley. Don't let it be :-( (sadness). Look sideways to the left to see them.
Love Joan

From Doreen - 12 August 2000
Dear Joan,
What a gracious person you are, you and you alone understand the situation. No-one could comprehend how I could have loved him for all these years. There is no bitterness in my heart toward him, life is to short for that - we shared those precious times together. I would like to talk to any of his friends if possible, but not his widow, I would not want her to think less of him. Thank you very much for the photo, that is a wonderful gift, I will treasure it, always. Joan if I can ever help you, in any way, please do not hesitate to ask, - I can never repay you for all you've done.
Best wishes to you and your family,
Love Doreen.

From Doreen 21 October 2000
Hello Joan.
How is everything going with you and your family? Still keeping busy helping lost souls?I hope you are not over-doing it!!!! I want to tell you what has been happening at this side of the globe. On Oct 10th I received an E.Mail which was;

Regarding your enquiry concerning Fred Rushton, he was my Uncle. l am the son of his sister Winifred and I was born in Barrow. There cannot possibly two Fred Rushtons who were sergeants in the Air Force and came from Brown St, because my Uncle survived the war and eventually emigrated to Australia
Bill Black (puzzled).

I then received a note from his sister Maureen who lives in Barrow, Bill had called her, and she wanted to know if there was anything she could help me with, it was a very kind letter. I wrote her back, and she has sent me photos of "Butch" 6 in all, and wants to keep in contact, which I am doing.

Bill wrote me in return of my thank you letter to him and said;
Thank you for your E.Mail, it was probably a million to one chance that I saw Fred's name on that web-site. I was looking for my old school web-site and got onto that almost by mistake. Very glad I could be of help.
Thanking you
Bill Black.

What a small world it really is!! isn't it Joan? The weather here is beginning to change. It was forecast rain to-day, but it didn't arrive, the days are getting cooler, 74f - at nights it drops to 50f, so we know Fall is here, I like it, would love to hear the rain. I bet that sounds crazy to you, but really, it rained some last week, that was the first in a long, long time, so different than England, yes?
Well my good friend I will sign off for now, will write you soon. Lots of love and best wishes to you all.
Doreen and Peanuts.