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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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142 Squadron Crest
16.08.1943 No 142 Squadron Wellington X HE266 QT-A Wg/Cmdr. Gibbes

Operation: Viterbo

Date: 16th August 1943 (Monday)

Unit: No. 142 Squadron

Type: Wellington X

Serial: HE266

Code: QT-A

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.)

Burial details:

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.

KTY - Updated 10.12.2018

Acknowledgements: Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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