TheyServed Wiki

Private Gerald Flamberg (later 'Lambert'), MM was an English soldier of the British Army who served during the Second World War.

He was born on 15 December 1922, in Holborn, the son of Polish-born Jacob and Miriam Flamberg (née Beaver), of London. Flamberg worked for a fishmonger and later apprenticed as a cutter. That did not last long, however, as Flamberg organised a strike in protest at conditions. He enlisted in 1941, in the King's Royal Rifle Corps, and transferred after six months to the 156th Parachute Battalion.[1]

With the 156th, Flamberg fought in Sicily and the campaign in mainland Italy. [1] On 18 September 1944, his battalion parachuted into Holland as part of Operation Market Garden. [1] The battalion suffered heavy casualties as the Germans gradually isolated the outgunned airborne troops.[2][3] Flamberg, who belonged to the Mortar Platoon, Support Company, was wounded in the shoulder in an encounter with a German tank, which he subsequently damaged with a Gammon bomb. He was later taken prisoner. For his actions, Flamberg was awarded the Military Medal. The citation reads:

On the 19th September 1944, West of Arnhem, Private Flamberg's company, after almost continuous fighting since they dropped the day before, delivered two attacks on a strong enemy position. They were held up each time and suffered considerable casualties. A number were collected, of whom Flamberg was one, by Lieutenant C Silvester, Brigade Liaison Officer, and led in a third time. There was heavy fire and in the supposition that it was from our own troops, Flamberg was sent out into the open with a recognition triangle. He was met by a German tank which immediately opened up and put a bullet through his shoulder and remaining there in action, pinned the Company at about 200 yards. Flamberg crawled back, and concealing his distress, cheerfully asked and obtained permission to attack the tank with a Gammon bomb. He then stalked the tank, working up to within ten yards of it, in great pain with one arm useless. He threw the bomb and damaged the tank so that it hastily withdrew, opening the way for the Company to which Flamberg, as cheerfully as ever, then returned. The tremendous fighting spirit and fine example of this man was of the highest importance in its effect on the troops, who then went in to hand fighting in the best of spirits as consequence of it.[4]

In captivity, Flamberg grew concerned about the consequences war might have on the working class poor. He organised a fund amongst prisoners, appealing to officers at Brunswick prison camp, who duly gave pledges that were scrawled on various available items. The resulting Brunswick Boys Club was formed in London in 1949.[1]

After the war, there was a revival of fascism in Britain, orchestrated by figures such as the formerly detained Jeffrey Hamm. A few Jewish ex-servicemen, including Flamberg, grew frustrated by the lack of action. In February 1946, they unilaterally disrupted a meeting by Hamm's group. The ensuing altercations saw Flamberg 'kicking hell out of Jeffrey Hamm, lifting him up, knocking him down again.' Emboldened, Flamberg and other ex-servicemen formed the 43 Group, which sustained a campaign against the fascist movement for about five years.[5]

Flamberg, who had to change his name to Lambert due to safety fears, went on to run a chain of jewellery and gift shops. He was married to Esther Simpson, with whom he had two sons and a daughter, and died on 2 July 2007.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 The Times: Gerald Lambert; anti-fascist activist and boys club founder. 6 August 2007.
  2. 156 Parachute Battalion, Retrieved 19 July 2015.
  3. Guard, Julie (2007), Airborne: World War II Paratroopers in Combat, p. 241.
  4. Gerald Flamberg, Retrieved 19 July 2015.
  5. Hann, Dave (2012), Physical Resistance: A Hundred Years of Anti-Fascism.