16.08.1943 No 142 Squadron Wellington X HE266 QT-A Wg/Cmdr. Gibbes
Date: 16th August 1943 (Monday)
Unit: No. 142 Squadron
Type: Wellington X
Base: Kairouan, Tunisia
Location: Tyrrhenian Sea?
Pilot: W/Cmdr. Augustus Rodney Gibbes DFC. AUS/267505 RAAF Age 28. Missing - believed killed (1)
Air/Bmr: Sgt. William Arnott Ewart 1369852 RAFVR Age 24. Missing - believed killed
Nav: Sgt. Neville James Meen 143704 RAFVR Age 22. Missing - believed killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: W/O.1. Norman Gerhard Schultz R/82766 RCAF Age 22. Missing - believed killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. James Charles Pratt 1389072 RAFVR Age 19. Missing - believed killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
No further details have been found on this loss. It is believed that their aircraft blew up mid air whilst over the sea on a night bombing raid to the landing grounds at Viterbo, Italy. The aircraft came down at approximately 19:31hrs.
W/Cmdr. Gibbes DFC. briefing the crews (Courtesy John Hardie)
(1) W/Cmdr. Augustus Rodney Gibbes D.F.C. survived an earlier incident on 2/3rd September 1941 during an attack on Ostend. Flying a Wellington with 218 Squadron X9810 HA-K the aircraft was shot down by flak and crashed off the Belgian coast. They were adrift for 3 days and eventually came ashore at Westgate near Margate, Kent, all crew safe and unhurt. Sgt. Kenneth W.G. England 1375251 was later killed on 31st May the following year. Flying a Stirling I W7502 HA-N out of R.A.F. Marham on an operation to Cologne when they were shot down by flak - 5 crew members killed and two others taken PoW.
Above left: W/Cmdr. Gibbes D.F.C. (Courtesy AWM.) Right: Sgt. Ewart (Courtesy John Hardie)
The Ship Inn at Narborough, Kings Lynn, Norfolk where W/Cdr Gibbes DFC. lived with his wife Joan, also shown here, on their wedding day we understand.
Above: The then Sq/Ldr. Gibbes with his wife and child (Courtesy Steve Smith 218 Squadron historian)
Malta War Memorial (Courtesy C.W.G.C.)
W/Cmdr. Augustus Rodney Gibbes D.F.C. Malta Memorial Panel 11. Column 1. Born on the 05th January 1915, the son of Augustus John Osborne Gibbes and Ann Gibbes; husband of Joan Mary Gibbes (née Crisp), of Northbridge, New South Wales, Australia. Also of the "Ship Inn", Narborough, Kings Lynn, Norfolk.
Sgt. William Arnott Ewart. Malta Memorial Panel 8. Column 2. Son of Andrew and Anna Beigbeder De Ewart of Beunos Airies, Argentina and Rosewell, Kirriemuir, Scotland.
Sgt. Neville James Meen. Malta Memorial Panel 9. Column 1. Son of Frederick J. and Rose Meen, of Haddiscoe, Norfolk, England.
W/O.1. Norman Gerhard Schultz. Malta Memorial Panel 10. Column 2. Son of Albert F. and Louise Schultz of Pembroke, Ontario, Canada.
Sgt. James Charles Pratt. Malta Memorial Panel 9. Column 1. Son of James Thomas Pratt and Jane Pratt.
Researched for John Hardie with thanks to John for information supplied and to Steve Smith the 218 Squadron Historian.