John “Junior” Cumbers, DFM, Air Gunner, 424 Sqn. RCAF

J.W. "Junior" CUMBERS in his turret 1944
J.W. “Junior” CUMBERS in his turret 1944 . The four guns are Browning (probably Mk. II*) and are in .303″ calibre. Note that his guns are loaded with live ammunition. He has JUNIOR painted on the front of his leather helmet.

John “Junior” “Doc” Cumbers was a mid-upper air gunner on Halifax bombers in 424 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force (R.C.A.F.) in World War II. 

He was on “DER FUERHERS FATE” and  “DER FUERHERS FATE  MK II.” Note that they had misspelled “Fuhrer” which was German for leader and was the title for Adolf Hitler. “MK II” is the military abbreviation for Mark II, or “second model”. Cumbers was known as “Junior” at the time as he was the youngest member of the crew. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal for shooting down enemy fighter planes that attacked his bomber. After the war he remained involved in aviation and served with the Air Cadet League. By then his nickname had changed to “Doc”. 

I made notes when speaking with “Doc” Cumbers, but I have misplaced them at the moment. These identify the rest of the crew. 

 

 J. W. Cumbers' class, Brandon, Manitoba 1941
J. W. Cumbers’ class, Brandon, Manitoba 1941
J. W. Cumbers' class Mount Joli, Quebec 1942 Fairey Battle. Cumbers is at the rear,  far right. Original photo was badly damaged to it has been digitally repaired.
J. W. Cumbers’ class Mount Joli, Quebec 1942 Fairey Battle. Cumbers is at the rear, far right. Original photo was badly damaged to it has been digitally repaired.
424 Squadron RCAF briefing in England.
424 Squadron RCAF briefing in England.
Believed to be 424 Squadron Halifax bombers. (Photo via "Doc" Cumbers. Original photo by Sport & General Press Agency, Limited, London [England] )
Believed to be 424 Squadron Halifax bombers. (Photo via “Doc” Cumbers. Original photo 33842 by Sport & General Press Agency, Limited, London [England] )
424 Sqn RCAF members on a Halifax bomber. Circa 1944.
424 Sqn RCAF members on a Halifax bomber. Circa 1944. J. “Junior” Cumbers is immediately to the left of No. 1 prop on right of photo.

 

 

Crew of DER FUEHRERS FATE. #6 is J. W. "Junior" CUMBERS
Crew of DER FUEHRERS FATE. #6 is J. W. “Junior” CUMBERS

THE CREW OF “DER FUERHERS FATE” and  “DER FUERHERS FATE  MK II” 

  • Pilot – Herb “Kirk” Kirkby
  • Bomb Aimer – Bob Drummond
  • Engineer – Francis Sylvester CAINE, RAF
  • Navigator – Tommy “Pop? Vanchuck
  • # 6 Mid-upper Gunner – J. W. “Junior” CUMBERS
Pilot Herb Kirkly aka Kirk lying on his cot.
Pilot Herb Kirkly aka Kirk lying on his cot.

 

Pilot Herb Kirkly aka Kirk at the controls of their Halifax bomber.
Pilot Herb Kirkly aka Kirk at the controls of their Halifax bomber.
The Navigator, Tommy "Pop" Vanchuck
The Navigator, Tommy “Pop” Vanchuck
 
Bomb Aimer Bob Drummond.
Bomb Aimer Bob Drummond.
Engineer Francis Sylvester CAINE, RAF
Engineer Francis Sylvester CAINE, RAF
John "Junior" Cumbers, Air Gunner.
John “Junior” Cumbers, Air Gunner.
J. W. "Junior" Cumbers, air-gunner, shows how he shot down a FW-190 & Me109.
J. W. “Junior” Cumbers, air-gunner, shows how he shot down a FW-190 & Me109. He was awarded a Distinguished Flying Medal.
Junior CUMBERS combat report re his DFM
Junior CUMBERS combat report re his DFM
 
Unidentified at the moment. An Air Gunner I believe.
Unidentified at the moment. An Air Gunner I believe.
Unidentified at moment, apparently an Air Gunner. Hat on left shoulder.
Unidentified at moment, apparently an Air Gunner. Hat on left shoulder.
Painting on a bombing mission bombing symbol & pilot Herb "Kirk" Kirkby watching.
Painting on a bombing mission bombing symbol & pilot Herb “Kirk” Kirkby watching.
DER FUEHRERS FATE MK II - JW CUMBERS on right pointing RCAF Photo PL-31712
DER FUEHRERS FATE MK II – JW “Junior” CUMBERS on right pointing ( RCAF Photo PL-31712)
DER FUEHRERS FATE Lightning & crew no machine gun in the nose. "On the job 1944"
DER FUEHRERS FATE Lightning & crew no machine gun in the nose. “On the job 1944”

 

Three of the crew the nose art. Version with bayonet.
DER FUEHRERS FATE  (first one) Three of the crew the nose art. Version with bayonet.
Fuehrers Fate MK II with lightning heading for Hitler's backside.
“Der Fuehrers Fate MK II” with lightning heading for Hitler’s backside.

 

CUMBERS’ SOUVENIR PICTURES FROM HIS TIME IN THE ROYAL CANADIAN NAVY POST-WWII

RCN Sea Fury BC-F TF996 just running into the barrier.
RCN Sea Fury BC-F TF996 just running into the barrier.
RCN Sea Fury BC-F TF996 Damage done by running into the barrier.
RCN Sea Fury BC-F TF996 Damage done by running into the barrier.
RCN Fairey Firefly FR MK IV VH 128 "SEE WHERE YOUR TAXES GO"
RCN Fairey Firefly FR MK IV VH 128 “SEE WHERE YOUR TAXES GO”
RCN Seafire ditching "WHAT HAPPENS WHEN AN AEROPLANE GOES IN THE WATER"
RCN Seafire ditching “WHAT HAPPENS WHEN AN AEROPLANE GOES IN THE WATER”

A COUPLE OF SOUVENIR PHOTOS 

DH-9A on the first Trans-Canada Flight. Stopover at Revelstoke, British Columbia, October, 1920.
DH-9A on the first Trans-Canada Flight. Stopover at Revelstoke, British Columbia, October, 1920.
Flying Officer George "Buzz" Beurling.
Flying Officer George “Buzz” Beurling. He was a Canadian Spitfire pilot and ace. He flew in Malta. He died in 1948 enroute to help Israel.