Former RAF airman Lamb dies at 90
The last surviving member of an elite group of black airmen who served with the Royal Air Force during the Second World War has died.
Philip Lamb died at King Edward VII Memorial early yesterday morning. He was 90.
Mr Lamb, who was from St David’s, joined the Bermuda Militia Artillery at the age of 17 in 1940, shortly after the outbreak of the Second World War.
After three years of service on the Island, he was selected by the RAF and trained to become a member of a ground crew team. Following his training in Canada, Mr Lamb was shipped out to England at the end of 1944.
“I guess it was because I was daring,” Mr Lamb said in a 2004 interview with
The Royal Gazette.
“I had no fear and I was anxious to get away from Bermuda, although everyone was getting killed, maimed and everything else.“
Mr Lamb rose to the rank of Leading Aircraftsman and during his time in England survived a number of air raids by the German Luftwaffe.
In March 1945, in one of the last raids the Germans made on England, Mr Lamb received leg injuries when the building in which he was sheltering was bombed. As a result, the war veteran suffered pain in his back and legs for the rest of his life.
After the war ended in May 1945, Mr Lamb was given what was perhaps his most dangerous assignment — flying over France and Germany in search of unexploded mines that had to be detonated.
After almost eight years in uniform, Mr Lamb studied engineering in Canada before returning to Bermuda.
And just two years ago his military record was finally recognised when the RAF presented him with a medal for his efforts during the war.
Former Bermuda Regiment Commanding Officer Lt Col Eddie Lamb, a distant relative of Mr Lamb, described “Uncle Hunky” as a hero, icon and inspiration, who was well known and popular in St David’s.
“It was a great shock to hear the news, it’s very, very sad,” Lt Col Lamb said.
“Despite his advanced years, Uncle Hunky was in very good spirits and a picture of health when I last saw him.
“He was very well respected in the St David’s community and in my eyes he was a hero and an icon for what he did in the service of the country. I was always very proud to be linked to him.
“Growing up, he always showed me great kindness and as I became older and learned more about him, I got to respect him more and more. He was also a very colourful, larger-than-life character, very strong and robust.”
Lt Col Lamb added that, when in command of the Bermuda Regiment, he would invite Mr Lamb and other war veterans to Warwick Camp to speak to recruits.
“He would regale us with tales of his exploits during the war and he always had a glint in his eye,” Lt Col Lamb said.