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Thomas James Desmond Baber

Thomas Baber's name is inscribed inside Runnymede Memorial.

Thomas Baber's name is inscribhed inside Runnymede Memorial.

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  • 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
  • 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
  • Relationship status


Wars and conflicts

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  • War
  • Campaign
    Europe (Air) AWMM
  • Armed force / branch
    Air Force AWMM
  • Service number
    • NZ39857 AWMM
    • WWII 39857 AWMM
  • Military service
  • Promotions/ Postings/ Transfers

Military decorations

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  • Medals and Awards
    • Mentioned in Despatches (MiD) AWMM
    • Czechoslovak Medal for Bravery. Conferred 12 January 1943. Public - Kerrie - Researcher - 17 February 2019 - The London Gazette. (1943). Supplement to the London Gazette. Retrieved from

Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
  • 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. 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
    Europe 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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Command item
Command item
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DateFirst namesLocationRelationshipContact
20 September 2020Ian BanksTaumarunui New ZealandResearcher
17 February 2019KerrieNew ZealandResearcher
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