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At First Sight
Wing Commander Guy Gibson VC. DSO. DFC.

Aircraft “E” KB 267  -  19-9-44  -  Master Bomber.  -  Operation: Rheydt. Ruhr.
Crashed on return on Walcheren  -  Buried: Bergen-op- Zoom.


Apart from 627 Squadron taking up residence at Woodhall Spa, to share the airfield with 617 Squadron (Dambusters) and to carry on the low level visual marking originated by G/C Leonard Cheshire, VC. DSO. DFC., of that squadron, we also had a rather sad connection with its original Commanding Officer, W/C Guy Gibson. VC. DSO. DFC.

Following the Dam Raids W/C Gibson was to carry out a number of non-operational duties in an advisory capacity, but one has the impression that he was jockeying into position to return to operational flying. With this in view he was attached to the Master Bomber team at No 54 Base, Coningsby.

On the night of 19th September 1944 the designated Master Bomber was unavailable and W/C Gibson and Navigator S/L J.B.Warwick.DFC. took off from Woodhall Spa in “E” KB267 to act as Controller for the raid on Rheydt. Nothing appears to have been amiss during the operation over the target, but whilst returning over Walcheren both engines of his Mosquito Cut (according to a Dutch farmer who witnessed the incident) and the aircraft crashed near the sea wall.

Both W/C Gibson and his Navigator are buried at Bergen-op-Zoom. The most likely theory for the incident is that the fuel transfer cocks were not operated in the correct sequence and the engines ran out of fuel. It appears that W/C Gibson and his Navigator had flown Mosquitoes on only one or two occasions prior to this incident.

At time of writing the MkTT35 Mosquito in the Cosford Aircraft Museum is in Bomber Command grey and green livery and lettered “AZ-E” as per the aircraft borrowed by Guy Gibson from 627 Squadron on the night of 19th September 1944.

Copyright 1943-2012 627 Squadron in Retirement or as credited