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Thomas James Desmond Baber

Biography for Thomas James Desmond Baber. RNZAF [Royal New Zealand Air Force] Biographies of Deceased Personnel 1939 - 1945 (Bound Volumes) - Ue - Z. Archives New Zealand (R17845607-0209). CC-BY 2.0.

Biography for Thomas James Desmond Baber. RNZAF [Royal New Zealand Air Force] Biographies of Decease …


  • Title
  • Forenames
    Thomas James Desmond AWMM
  • Surname
    Baber AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
  • Service number
    • NZ39857 AWMM
    • WWII 39857 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi / Hapū / Waka / Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    1918 Public Source
  • Date of birth
    1918 Public - Kerrie - Researcher - 17 February 2019 - New Zealand Birth record 1918/23358
  • Place of birth
    Napier Public - Kerrie - Researcher - 17 February 2019 - New Zealand Birth record 1918/23358
  • Birth notes
    Son of Barbara Ellen and Thomas Buckley Baber. Public - Kerrie - Researcher - 17 February 2019 - New Zealand Birth record 1918/23358
  • Address before enlistment
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    WW2 Mother: Mrs T. J. D. Baber, 12 Davis Street, Thorndon, Wellington AWMM
  • Relationship status


Wars and conflicts

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Military decorations

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Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
    • Air Gunner/Military RNZAF Biographies (R17845607)
    • Instructor/Military RNZAF Biographies (R17845607)
  • Enlistment
  • Occupation before enlistment
  • Age on enlistment


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  • Embarkation details

Prisoner of war

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  • Capture details
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • Liberation Repatriation
  • POW liberation details
  • POW serial number

Medical history

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  • Medical notes
    Killed in Action, Cause of Death AWMM
    Killed on air operations AWMM

Biographical information

Biographical information

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    • Mentioned in Despatches

      Awarded Czech Medal for Bravery.

      Attended Wellington Technical College (Source: RNZAF Biographies (R17845607)) AWMM
    • BABER, Flight Lieutenant Thomas James Desmond, mid, Czech Medal for Bravery. NZ39857;

      Born Napier, 23 Sep 1918; RNZAF 20 Oct 1939 to (kao) 12 Mar 1942; Air Gunner.
      Citation Mention in Despatches (NY1942): For distinguished service. For service with 75(NZ)Sqn RAF (Wellington).

      Citation Czech Medal for Bravery (3 Jan 1942): Not available. The following letter gives the background to this award:

      “President of the Czechoslovak Republic, Chancellery, 9 Grosvenor Place, LONDON, SW1, 26 November 1941.

      Dear Mr Dunbar,

      The Czechoslovak Minister of National Defence has the intention of proposing to the President of the Czechoslovak Republic that Flt Lt T J D Baber, RNZAF should be decorated with the Czechoslovak Medal for Bravery.

      This British officer is attached to Czechoslovak Squadron 311 as instructor in aerial gunnery. From the beginning he has shown great interest in the activity of the Squadron and has voluntarily taken part in three operational flights, the last of which was especially difficult owing to bad weather and strong icing.

      I am writing this to enquire whether the proposed measure will meet with the approval of His Majesty’s Government and remain,

      Sincerely yours [Sgd] J. Sejnoha, Chief of Protocol.
      Robert Dunbar Esq., MC., Foreign Office, LONDON.”

      Flt Lt Baber was one of the first two RNZAF air gunners commissioned. His targets whilst with 75 Sqn included - Cologne, Berlin, Mannheim, Duisburg, Hamm, Essen, Krefeld, Dusseldorf, Hanover, Bottrop, Wesel, Leipzig, Gelsenkirchen, Wilhelmshaven, Bremen, Le Havre, Brest, Lorient, Boulogne, the docks at Ostend and Antwerp, Soesterberg airfield in Holland and the dropping of incendiaries on the Black Forest. With 311 Sqn he attacked Nuremberg, Hamburg, Aachen, Wilhelmshaven, Turin and Brest.

      He completed 32 sorties with 75(NZ)Sqn RAF and seven with 311(Czech)Sqn RAF. Kao Kiel, Germany, 12 Mar 1942 with 75(NZ)Sqn RAF (Wellington) on his 39th sortie. No known grave. Commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. Public - Kerrie - Researcher - 17 February 2019 - Hanson, C. M. (2001). By such deeds : honours and awards in the Royal New Zealand Air Force, 1923-1999. Christchurch, New Zealand: Volplane Press.

      Martin, E. (2008). British personnel with 311 Squadron. Retrieved from
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About death

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  • Death
    12 March 1942 AWMM
    Age 24 AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name
    Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, United Kingdom AWMM

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  • External links
  • References
    • Martyn, E. (1998-2008). For Your Tomorrow (Vols. 1-3). Christchurch, N.Z.: Volplane Press. AWMM
    • RNZAF [Royal New Zealand Air Force] Biographies of Deceased Personnel 1939 - 1945 (Bound Volumes) - Ab - B. Archives New Zealand (R17845607) - Former archives reference: AIR118 AWMM
    • List of RNZAF [Royal New Zealand Air Force] Personnel - List of Personnel Killed or Missing in Various Theatres, 1940 - 1945. [Missing - But Presumed Dead on Lapse of Time - Officers, Airmen]. Archives New Zealand (R17845743) AWMM
    • Please note that the 12 volumes of the "RNZAF [Royal New Zealand Air Force] Biographies of Deceased Personnel 1939-1945" held at Archives NZ (formerly known as AIR118) should be used in conjunction with Errol Martyn's "For Your Tomorrow". FYT reflects detailed examination of all of the AIR118 bios which contain many inaccuracies and omissions. AWMM


Command item
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Add new record Refresh
DateFirst namesLocationRelationshipContact
20 September 2020Ian BanksTaumarunui New ZealandResearcher
17 February 2019KerrieNew ZealandResearcher

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