Second World War RAF hero dies just short of 100th birthday

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Second World War RAF hero dies just short of 100th birthday

Alfred Huberman flew a remarkable 38 bomber missions for the RAF and was instrumental in securing the Bomber Command Association memorial in London's Green Park.

Alfred Huberman, picture: Michelle Huberman.
Alfred Huberman, picture: Michelle Huberman.

A Royal Air Force bomber hero who flew a staggering 38 missions over Nazi Germany has died four months short of his 100th birthday.

Born in 1923 in West Ham, London, Alfred (Alf) Huberman enlisted with the RAF in 1941 and joined 576 and 83 Squadron flying Lancasters out of Scunthorpe.

A rear gunner in Lancaster planes, he flew an incredible 38 missions for RAF bomber command, when the average number of sorties flown at the time was just five. He told his family he was on training missions to not worry them.

Some 55,573 men from Bomber Command died during the Second World War.

Lancaster PA474 wearing 460 Squadron (RAAF)’s AR-L on her portside and 50 Squadron VN-T on her starboard side. Wikipedia

Daughter Michelle told Jewish News: “Most of my father’s colleagues died after one or two sorties. It was a miracle. His passing hasn’t come as a surprise, although we were hoping that he’d make his 100 birthday as he had always wanted to.”

During the Second World War, 20,000 Jewish men and women joined the RAF to fight the Nazis.

Alfred Huberman, second from right, with family and friends. Pic: courtesy of Michelle Huberman.

Advised to change the religion stamped on his identity tags before flying over Germany, Alfred refused, saying: ‘I’ve lived my life as a Jew and I’ll die as a Jew.’

“My father was a very complex man,” says Michelle. “He was shaped by his World War II experiences. He was an artist. He was a fashion designer and businessman. He loved Israel although he never went. He always followed it very closely. but after the RAF he didn’t want to fly. He rarely went abroad – being in an airplane brought back too many traumatic memories.”

From left, Alfred Huberman, Charles Clarke and Harry Irons in front of the Bomber Command memorial [PAUL STEWART MEDIA]
Huberman lived with his family in Hampstead Garden Suburb and served as vice chairman of the BCA (Bomber Command Association).

Michelle told Jewish News: “My dad was a real East End boy and fought in the battle of Cable Street, rolling marbles under the feet of the police horses. He was also involved in fundraising for the BCA monument at Green Park. He worked closely on that with Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees; Dad was upset when Robin died.

Advised to change the religion stamped on his identity tags before flying over Germany, Alfred refused, saying: ‘I’ve lived my life as a Jew and I’ll die as a Jew.’

“He was at the RAF offices in Colindale every day. He’d open all the post, he’d write the replies, old fashioned, hand-written replies to little old ladies who had put £3 in an envelope because that was all they could afford. He really made a point of thanking everyone and doing all it took. His main focus was to be a proud Jew.”

Alfred Huberman leaves behind 93-year old wife Thelma, sons Paul and Peter, daughters Michelle and Corinne, five grandchildren and two great grandchildren. Daughter Sandy passed away in 2016.

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