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Miss Plumtree Remembers Her Great-Grandad & Her Great-Great-Uncle

The stories of two brothers; my Great-Grandad and my Great-Great Uncle by Miss Plumtree

I rang my Grandma and she told me two stories; one about my Great-Grandad and one about my Great-Great Uncle. Both brothers were part of World War II but in different ways.

My Great-Great Uncle, Cyril Baumber was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal following an incident over Germany during an attack on Brunswick when, despite being severely wounded, he continued to give his Captain invaluable assistance in nursing their damaged aircraft safely back to base. Cyril, who had become a Flight Sergeant, was a flight engineer with 97 squadron, part of the Pathfinder Force, and had already flown in more than thirty missions. This was not the first time that his aircraft had been shot-up. Previously he had been forced to bail out over Norfolk where he landed in a field of cabbages. Once he had recovered from his injuries suffered in the Brunswick raid, Cyril assumed he would be going back to active service, but he was given a commission and persuaded to take on a training role at Syerston. Here he was reunited with his old crew who had by now completed fifty missions. Of the men that started out together, Cyril and his colleagues were the only crew to survive. I have put a photograph of the newspaper clipping when he was awarded the Distringuished Flying Medal.

The story about my Great-Grandad 'Joss'. According to my Grandma, she never heard him called Harold. I was told this story by my Mum and Dad when I was younger too. I remembered some of the details but I had to check! My Great-Grandad, Harold 'Joss' Baumber enlisted in the Royal Engineers in 1942 but did not go overseas until April 1945. He was assigned to an officer as his driver or a 'Batman' as they were called then. As Europe was liberated, he followed the retreating German army through France, Belgium, Holland and Germany, finally reaching Berlin where his officer became involved in the negotiations with the other allies following the fall of the city. As part of this, he was involved with clearing Hitler's bunker. He found various items when clearing out Hitler's bunker and spoke of what he saw on his return home. During his time in Berlin, he collected postcards of Berlin's famous and historic buildings recently abandoned by the Germans. My family still have the book of the postcards he collected, I have put a photograph of parts of it below and a photograph of him with his unit in Ypres after the liberation.

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