Flying Officer Raimund Sanders Draper, nicknamed "Smudge", was an American airman of the Royal Air Force who died during the Second World War.

He was born on 27 December 1913, in London, the son of American parents Paul and Muriel Draper (née Sanders). They had moved to London in 1911, so that Paul could study under lieder singer Raimund von zur Muhlen.[1] Draper was reputedly the biological son of pianist Arthur Rubinstein[2]. His brother, Paul, was a prominent tap dancer, while his aunts were the actresses Joyce Grenfell and Ruth Draper.

Draper volunteered for the Royal Air Force while the United States was still neutral, and was commissioned as a pilot officer on 17 September 1941.[3] On 23 May 1943, while serving with 64 Squadron, Draper's Supermarine Spitfire developed engine difficulties shortly after taking off from RAF Hornchurch. The airfield was located in the vicinity of a school, and Draper chose to pilot his failing Spitfire away from it. He then deliberately nose-dived into a nearby playing field and was killed on impact.[4]

He is buried at Hornchurch Cemetery. The school adopted "Sanders Draper" as part of its name in 1971.


  1. Mercier, Anita Mercier (2008), Guilhermina Suggia, Cellist, p. 30.
  2. Sachs, Harvey & Manildi, Donald (1995). Rubinstein: A Life. p. 177.
  3. The London Gazette (35343), p. 6507. 11 November 1941, Retrieved 3 August 2015.
  4. Draper, Ruth & Warren, Dorothy (1999), The Letters of Ruth Draper: Self-portrait of an Actress, 1920-1956, p. 230.


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