Gibson, Guy Penrose

Date of birth:
August 12th, 1918 (Simla, India)
Date of death:
September 19th, 1944 (Steenbergen, The Netherlands)
Buried on:
Commonwealth War Graves General Cemetery Steenbergen
Service number:
39438
Nationality:
British (1801-present, Kingdom)

Biography

Guy Gibson died on September 19, 1944 during an action, with his de Havilland Mosquito KB 267, with Squadron Leader James Warwick, near Steenbergen. His grave is on the cemetery of Steenbergen and Kruisland, the Netherlands.
In Steenbergen streets were named to commemorate the crash (the Gibsonstraat, Warwickstraat and Mosquitostraat). Also a memorial Plaque was erected at the crash site.

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Flying Officer
Awarded on:
July 9th, 1940
Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Acting Squadron Leader
Unit:
No. 29 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Awarded on:
September 16th, 1941
Action:
Citation:
"This officer continues to show the utmost courage and devotion to duty. Since joining his present unit, Squadron Leader Gibson has destroyed three and damaged a fourth enemy aircraft. His skill was notably demonstrated when, one night in July, 1941, he intercepted and destroyed a Heinkel 111.
Details:
Second decoration received as a bar for on the ribbon of the first DFC.
Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Acting Wing Commander
Unit:
No. 106 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Awarded on:
November 20th, 1942
Distinguished Service Order (DSO)
Action:
Citation:
"Since being awarded a Bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross, this officer has completed many sorties, including a daylight raid on Danzig and an attack at Gdynia. In the recent attack on Le Creusot, Wing Commander Gibson bombed and machine-gunned the transformer station nearby from 500 feet. On 22nd October, 1942, he participated in the attack on Genoa and, two days later, he led his squadron in a daylight sortie against Milan. On both occasions, Wing Commander Gibson flew with great distinction. He is a most skilful and courageous leader whose keenness has set a most inspiring example.
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Acting Wing Commander
Unit:
No. 106 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Awarded on:
April 2nd, 1943
Distinguished Service Order (DSO)
Action:
Citation:
"This officer has an outstanding operational record, having completed 172 sorties. He has always displayed the greatest keenness and, within the past 2 months, has taken part in 6 attacks against well defended targets, including Berlin. In March, 1943, he captained an aircraft detailed to attack Stuttgart. On the outward flight engine trouble developed but he flew on to his objective and bombed it from a low level. This is typical of his outstanding determination to make every sortie a success. By his skilful leadership and contempt for danger he has set an example which has inspired the squadron he commands."
Details:
Second decoration received as a bar for on the ribbon of the first DSO.
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Acting Wing Commander
Unit:
No. 617 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Awarded on:
May 28th, 1943
Awarded for:
Operation Chastise
Victoria Cross (VC)
Action:
Citation:
"This officer served as a night bomber pilot at the beginning of the war and quickly established a reputation as an outstanding operational pilot. In addition to taking the fullest possible share in all normal operations, he made single-handed attacks during his " rest " nights on such highly defended objectives as the German battleship Tirpitz, then completing in Wilhelmshaven.
When his tour of operational duty was concluded, he asked for a further operational posting and went to a night-fighter unit instead of being posted for instructional duties.
In the course of his second operational tour, he destroyed at least three enemy bombers and contributed much to the raising and development of new night-fighter formations.
After a short period in a training unit, he again volunteered for operational duties and returned to night bombers. Both as an operational pilot and as leader of his squadron, he achieved outstandingly successful results and his personal courage knew no bounds. Berlin, Cologne, Danzig, Gdynia, Genoa, Le Creusot, Milan, Nuremberg and Stuttgart were among the targets he attacked by day and by night.
On the conclusion of his third operational tour, Wing Commander Gibson pressed strongly to be allowed to remain on operations and he was selected to command a squadron then forming for special tasks.
Under his inspiring leadership, this squadron has now executed one of the most devastating attacks of the war—the breaching of the Moehne and Eder dams. The task was fraught with danger and difficulty. Wing Commander Gibson personally made the initial attack on the Moehne dam. Descending to within a few feet of the water and taking the full brunt of the antiaircraft defences, he delivered his attack with great accuracy. Afterwards he circled very low for 30 minutes, drawing the enemy fire on himself in order to leave as free a run as possible to the following aircraft which were attacking the dam in turn.
Wling Commander Gibson then led the remainder of his force to the Eder dam where, with complete disregard for his own safety, he repeated his tactics and once more drew on himself the enemy fire so that the attack could be successfully developed.
Wing Commander Gibson has completed over 170 sorties, involving more than 600 hours operational flying. Throughout his operational career, prolonged exceptionally at his own request, he has shown leadership, determination and valour of the highest order."
Details:
Wing Commander Gibson’s Victoria Cross is publicly displayed at the Royal Air Force Museum in Hendon, Great Britain.

Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Wing Commander
Awarded on:
December 3rd, 1943
Awarded for:
Operation Chastise
Legion of Merit - Commander (LoM - C)
Action:
Citation:
"Wing Commander Guy Penrose Gibson, RAF, commanded a special organized air force squadron which accomplished the destruction of the Moehne and Eder dams, flooding large areas of enemy territory, with serious impairment of the enemy's capacity.
Wing Commander Gibson personally led the formation attacking the Moehne dam. At extremely low altitude, and in the face of severe antiaircraft fire, he pressed home the attack, and then deliberately circled over the objective for 30 minutes to draw the enemy fire onto himself, and facilitate approach to the target by the remaining planes of his squadron.
After completing the destruction of the Moehne dam, Wing Commander Gibson led his squadron to the Eder dam, and using similar tactics, completed the destruction of that objective.
During the entire operation, Wing Commander Gibson demonstrated the highest type of leadership, and completely subordinated regard for his own safety to the seccessful accomplishment of his mission. His outstanding service and leadership is an inspiring example to the armed forces of the Allied nations, to whose cause he has made a material contribution.
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Details:
Received with "FRANCE AND GERMANY" clasp.
Air Crew Europe Star

Sources

  • Photo 1: Public Domain
  • Photo 2: Anneke Moerenhout
  • - Victoria Cross Reference
    - The Register of the Victoria Cross - published by This Engeland 1997 - ISBN 0906324270
    - The History of the Victoria Cross
    - Rein Grabijn photo archive
    - Flying Magazine, February 1944, p. 150
    - Paul van Nieuwenhuyzen