Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — NEWFANE — Clifford Kumm, 90, is one of nine children born to Henry and Persis Henrietta. He and three of his older brothers served in World War II and his younger brother was in the infantry during the Korean War.
Kumm would rather speak of Richard, Leon, Clayton and Lloyd— not of himself.
Kumm, who lives on Hatter Road, will attend Veterans Day bell ringing ceremonies today at Newfane Post 8438 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. The heroes are the servicemen who are underground, he said. Although he served in England and France, Kumm feels he didn’t do anything special during World War II.
“Those guys who saw the worst of it, don’t talk about it,” Kumm said. “There was nothing frightening about my service.”
He has an “Airborne/Trooper Carrier” shoulder patch but never jumped from a plane. He was a radio man on planes that carried paratoopers, towed gliders and recovered wounded.
Kumm would rather speak of growing up in Minnesota and moving to New York in a Model T truck that had 50 flat tires along the way. He talked about the one-room school house he attended in Williamsville, which has been relocated to the Amherst Museum, and working special duty at Curtis Aviation.
Drafted into the Army Air Corps, he was in communications and a high-speed operator in Morse Code. Towards the end of the war, he received what appeared to be a routine friendly message, but sensed it came from the Germans who were seeking information. Kumm was correct.
How did he know?
”Right off the bat I was suspicious,” said Kumm. “I could sense the way our operators would send. These German operators were too perfect. They threw too many cue signals and they were too expert. That clued me right then because our operators had never done that.”