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Gibbons,
Colin Oswald

The Mark III Avro Lancaster ND708 (call Sign TL-L) of No. 35 (Pathfinder) Squadron, which was flown by Pilot Officer Arthur Ganderton; accompanied by crew members Flight Engineer Sergeant J. S. Martin; Navigator Sergeant John William Samuel Burden; Wireless Operator Sergeant George Bagnall; Bomb Aimer Flight Sergeant Colin Oswald Gibbons; and Gunners Sergeant Arthur Henry Weller and Sergeant H. R. Lowman.
Picture courtesy of Malcolm Barrass.

 

Colin Oswald Gibbons, D.F.M.

Colin Oswald Gibbons was born in Leicester during 1923. He was the son of Cecil Harold Gibbons (25/03/1900-1989) and his wife Clara, nee Hill. Colin's parents had two more children, daughters, Stella and Hilary. Colin's sisters were also born in Leicester.On the 6th February 1941 Colin's father received a commission in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (R.N.V.R.). In 1944 he was serving at the port of Liverpool, H.M.S. Eaglet, as Lieutenant C. H. Gibbons.

The Gibbons family home had been at a house in Oakland Avenue, Thurmaston. However, during the war, by 1944, the family had moved to Poynton in Cheshire.

Colin Oswald Gibbons joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (R.A.F.V.R.) in about 1942. In 1944 Flight Sergeant, 1490461, C. O. Gibbons, R.A.F.V.R., then serving with the Halifax Bombers of Bomber Command's No. 77 Squadron, based at R.A.F. Elvington, Yorkshire, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal (D.F.M.).

On the 8th April 1944 the Illustrated Leicester Chronicle (Page 11) reported that Flight Sergeant Colin Gibbons, only son of Mr. and Mrs. Cecil Gibbons, formerly of Oakland Avenue, Thurmaston, and now of Poynton, Cheshire is reported missing.

Flight Sergeant Gibbons had been a crew member of the Mark III Avro Lancaster ND708 (call Sign TL-L) of the No. 35 (Pathfinder) Squadron, which had taken off from R.A.F. Graveley, Cambridgeshire, at 19.54 hours on the 15th March 1944 for a bombing mission over Stuttgart, Germany. The aircraft was shot down by a German night-fighter and crashed at Niederschopfheim, near Lahr, in the Black Forest area of Germany.

Of the crew Sergeant Joseph William Samuel Burden, navigator; Sergeant George Bagnall, radio operator; and Sergeant Arthur Henry Weller, gunner; were killed in action, all three are interred in the Durnbach War Cemetery, Germany. Flying Officer Pilot Arthur Ganderton, Sergeant J. S. Martin, the Flight Engineer, and Sergeant H. R. Lowman, gunner, and Flight Sergeant Colin Oswald Gibbons, bomb aimer, were all taken as prisoners of war.

Colin Oswald Gibbons (P.O.W. No. 2978) was interned in Stalag Luft 6, Heydekrug, Lithuania; and Stalag Luft 4, Sagan and Belaria, Poland; as was Sergeant Martin. Sergeant Lowman (P.O.W. no. 3110) was interned in Stalag Luft 6 and Stalag 357, Kopernikus, Poland. Flying Officer Arthur Ganderton (P.O.W. No. 36041) was interned in Stalag Luft 3, Sagan and Belaria, Poland.

Having returned to England, on the 23rd October 1945 Warrant Officer Colin Oswald Gibbons attended an investiture at Buckingham Palace, London, where he received his D.F.M.

Colin Oswald Gibbons passed away on the 31st October 2014. His funeral service took place at Warrington Crematorium a few days later.

Acknowledgements:

Malcolm Barrass. See Air of Authority

Steve Clements, for producing the 35 Squadron Badge.

The badge is © Crown Copyright and is reproduced with the permission
of the Controller of Her Majesty's Stationery Office




WO Colin Oswald
Gibbons, D.F.M.

 


The Crew of Mark III Avro Lancaster ND708 (call Sign TL-L) of No. 35 (Pathfinder) Squadron, RAF, when it was shot down over Germany on the 16th March 1944:


Pilot - Flying Officer Arthur Ganderton (51902) was taken as a prisoner of war.
Sergeant, 656604, Arthur Ganderton, became a pilot officer (Emergency Commission), on probation, on the 27th January 1943. Six months' later, on the 27th July 1943 he became a Flying Officer on probation (War Substantive). On the 27th January 1945 he was promoted to a Flight Lieutenant (War Substantive). After the war, on the 13th June 1947, Arthur Ganderton became a Flying Officer in the reconstituted R.A.F.V.R. Then on the 1st March 1951 his promotion to Flight Lieutenant was confirmed with seniority from 1st May 1949. He relinquished his commission on the 13th June 1952.

Flight Engineer - Sergeant J. S. Martin was taken as a prisoner of war.

Navigator - Sergeant, 753568, Joseph William Samuel Burden, R.A.F.V.R. was killed in action. He was thirty years' of age. He was the son of William Samuel and Alice Maud Burden of Burnt Oak, Middlesex. He is interred in Durnbach War Cemetery (Grave 2.G.27), Bayern, Germany.

Wireless Operator - Sergeant, 1577534, George Bagnall, R.A.F.V.R. was killed in action. He is interred in Durnbach War Cemetery (Grave 2.G.27), Bayern, Germany.

Bomb Aimer - Flight Sergeant, 1490461, Colin Oswald Gibbons, R.A.F.V.R. was taken as a prisoner of war. His parents were Cecil Harold Gibbons and his wife Clara, nee Hill, of Leicester. He formerly served with No. 77 Squadron.

Air Gunner - Sergeant, 1359082, Arthur Henry Weller, R.A.F.V.R. was killed in action. He was forty one years' of age. He was the son of Charles Pugsley Weller and Lillie Weller, of Brighton, Sussex; and husband of Helen Weller, of Brighton. He is interred in Durnbach War Cemetery (Grave 2.G.26), Bayern, Germany.

Air Gunner - Sergeant, 1394480, H. R. Lowman was taken as a prisoner of war.

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