Heroic NI airman awarded by France for his courage dies in Zambia, age 94
A Co Antrim man, whose courage was recognised with France's highest honour, has died at the age of 94 in Zambia.
Flight Lieutenant Frank Ferguson from Doagh served as an RAF navigator throughout the Second World War - including at the Battle of the Bulge over the winter months of 1944/45 - forming part of a formidable Allied defence against the forces of Nazi Germany.
Just last year, he received the Legion d'honneur, and while he spoke of it modestly at that time in an interview with the Belfast Telegraph, his daughter Sara then said that, privately, her father had been deeply moved by the bestowing of the award on him.
Frank died on Saturday whilst on holiday in Zambia where his son Ross lives. He also made an impact there where he had been involved in building railways and mines, and was held in such high esteem that the Zambian Government gave him a full military funeral.
His ashes will be sent home to be scattered in his beloved Northern Ireland.
As a boy, Frank was educated at the then Coleraine Academical Institution where he joined the Air Training Corps, and also played and lost in two Schools Cup finals at Ravenhill in 1940 and 1941.
He went on to attend Queen's University where he gained an Aeronautical degree before joining the RAF in 1941. Frank qualified as a navigator and served on the de Havilland Mosquito among many other aircraft, and was involved in attacks on targets in Cherbourg, Caen, Seine, Alencon, Argentan, Rouen, Dieppe, Abbeville and Le Harve.
He carried out his final operation on November 2, 1944.
After the war, Frank was posted to RAF Hereford and later to No 11 EFTS where he became the Station Adjutant.
He was demobbed from RAF Heamsford at Christmas 1946 having carried out some 80 operations and clocking up a total of 479 flying hours in 14 different types of aircraft.
Frank then returned home to Northern Ireland and went back to Queen's University where he graduated for a second time, on this occasion with a degree in Architecture.
He later became a civil engineer in 1949 and formed his own company, Frank Ferguson and Associates.
The RAF Association Carrickfergus Branch expressed its sadness at the passing of its friend.
Wing Commander Noel Williams, Branch Vice Chairman, expressed the group's sympathy to his family.
"The branch wishes to pass on its deepest sympathy to the wider Ferguson family," he said.
Frank's wife of 47 years, Pat, who was a BBC concert pianist, passed away 15 years ago.
He is survived by his son Ross and two daughters, Anne and Sara.