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Peter Furniss.

Byline: Rev Harry Ross

HE WAS handsome, glamorous, athletic and clever, reminiscent of the hero figures in boarding school stories, a young man to whom life promised so much.

Much of it was fulfilled as he advanced in the RAF from being World War II pilot, through various legal positions, until he was appointed an Air Vice-Marshal.

But the early ambition of the solicitor's son from West Kirby, Wirral, to play rugby for England was ended by a broken leg shortly before the outbreak of war in 1939.

One of nine children, Peter Furniss was sent to Sedbergh school, where he excelled at his studies and sport before signing articles with a firm of Liverpool solicitors. During this time he joined the Liverpool Scottish (TA) Regiment, but with the opening of hostilities was commissioned into the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders.

He then trained as a pilot and entered the desert war in Tunisia in 1943. Although the tide had turned against the Axis, Furniss was involved in low-flying reconnaissance missions against strong German opposition.

Further action followed during the taking of Sicily as a prelude to the invasion of Italy. Based at Malta, he was wounded when a German fighter attacked his Spitfire on the Allied airstrip.

Recovering quickly, he took part in attacks on German rail and road convoys. His gallantry in these operation resulted in his being awarded the DFS in 1944. As the war began drawing to its conclusion, he was engaged in air operations, supporting partisan fighters in Italy and Yugoslavia.

After the war, he was admitted to the Law Society, but rejoined the RAF as a Flight Lieutenant in the legal branch. In this and other capacities, Furniss saw the curtain falling on the British Empire during the Suez Crisis of 1956. He also had postings in Aden, Kenya and Singapore.

For four years, he was deputy director of RAF legal services, promoted to Air-Vice Marshal and then made its director in 1976.

Six year later, Furniss, a multi-linguist, married with three children, went on a world tour and devoted himself to RAF charities.

Air-Vice Marshal Peter Furniss, lawyer and pilot'

Born July 16, 1919, died December 11, 2005
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jan 5, 2006
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