Frederick J. Gibbs

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Frederick John Gibbs
Born (1899-09-03)3 September 1899
Walsall, Staffordshire, England
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Royal Air Force
Years of service 1916–1918
Rank Captain
Unit No. 23 Squadron RFC
No. 64 Squadron RAF
Awards Military Cross

Captain Frederick John Gibbs MC was a British World War I flying ace credited with 11 official victories.[1] Post-war, he went into business. During the beginning of World War II, he took the unusual step of giving up his officer's commission in favour of joining the military in the ranks.

World War I[edit]

On 10 August 1916, Cadet Frederick John Gibbs was first commissioned in the London Regiment as a second lieutenant on probation.[2] On 29 November 1916, temporary second lieutenant F. J. Gibbs of the South Staffordshire Regiment was appointed a flying officer in the Royal Flying Corps.[3]

By mid-1917, he had been trained as a SPAD pilot and was posted with No. 23 Squadron in France. On 2 June 1917, he opened his victory roll when he drove down a German Albatros D.III fighter out of control. Later that month, on the 17th, he destroyed a DFW two-seater reconnaissance plane. On 27 July 1917, he scored twice, driving down an Albatros D.V fighter on one patrol and sharing in the destruction of an Aviatik recon plane with Roger Neville on another. The destruction of another DFW on 13 August made him an ace.[1]

On 18 August 1917, he scored again, driving down an Albatros D.V. Four days after that, he destroyed a DFW over Wervicq, Belgium. On 25 August, he drove down an Albatros D.V over Langemarck. A month would pass before his next win; on 25 September, he set a German two-seater recon plane afire in the sky north of Wervicq.[1]

On 26 September 1917, Frederick John Gibbs of the South Staffordshires and RFC was awarded the Military Cross for his valor.[4] It would not be gazetted until 9 January 1918; the text of the accompanying award citation read:

"For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in attacking enemy aircraft and engaging hostile troops from the ground. He has in all driven down five enemy machines which were destroyed, and one other completely out of control. He has also attacked and silenced a hostile battery with machinegun fire, displaying on every occasion the same dash and determined offensive spirit."[5]

Gibbs would score once more while with 23 Squadron, destroying a Rumpler on 2 October 1917 for his tenth victory.[1]

On 10 February 1918, Gibbs was promoted to lieutenant.[6]

After a year's lapse, Gibbs scored one final victory while flying a Royal Aircraft Factory SE.5a for 64 Squadron. On 29 October 1918, he destroyed an LVG reconnaissance craft over Estreux, France.[1]

Between the World Wars[edit]

On 15 November 1918, Gibbs surrendered his commission because he was invalided by wounds; he was granted an honorary lieutenancy.[7]

On 16 March 1921, Gibbs was appointed a skilled workman in the British post office.[8]

Captain F. J. Gibbs resigned from the Indian Army Reserve of Officers on 10 September 1924, and was allowed to retain his rank.[9]

By 5 October 1934, Gibbs was the chairman of H. T. Ropes & Co. Limited, which was liquidating.[10] On 8 January 1935, Gibbs was chairman of the Mersey Pure Ice and Cold Storage Company Limited, which was also liquidating.[11]

World War II[edit]

On 1 September 1939, Lieutenant F. J. Gibbs, formerly of the London Regiment, gave up his commission so he could join the military as an enlisted man.[12]

On 20 May 1941, Frederick John Gibbs was executor of the will of Thomas Henry Gibbs.[13]

By 24 February 1942, Gibbs was chairman of The Wholesale Fish and Poultry Supplies Limited as it liquidated.[14] There the trail grows cold, as to date nothing further is known of his life.

Endnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Frederick John Gibbs". The Aerodrome. 2015. Retrieved 22 January 2015. 
  2. ^ "No. 29703". The London Gazette. 11 August 1916. p. 7923. 
  3. ^ "No. 29899". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 January 1917. p. 472. 
  4. ^ "No. 30308". The London Gazette (Supplement). 26 September 1917. pp. 9972–9975. 
  5. ^ "No. 30466". The London Gazette (Supplement). 9 January 1918. p. 607. 
  6. ^ "No. 30596". The London Gazette (Supplement). 26 March 1918. p. 3742. 
  7. ^ "No. 31009". The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 November 1918. p. 13416. 
  8. ^ "No. 32280". The London Gazette. 5 April 1921. p. 2688. 
  9. ^ "No. 33008". The London Gazette. 2 January 1925. p. 58. 
  10. ^ "No. 34093". The London Gazette. 5 October 1934. p. 6297. 
  11. ^ "No. 34122". The London Gazette. 8 January 1935. p. 252. 
  12. ^ "No. 34819". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 March 1940. p. 1833. 
  13. ^ "No. 35168". The London Gazette. 5 April 1921. p. 2914. 
  14. ^ "No. 35467". The London Gazette. 24 February 1942. p. 925. 

Reference[edit]

  • Shore, Christopher, et al. (1990). Above the Trenches: A Complete Record of the Fighter Aces and Units of the British Empire Air Forces, 1915-1920. Fortress Publications. ISBN 0-91919-511-3 ISBN 978-0-91919-511-0