Flying Officer John Leslie GILBERT

Service No: 401940
Born: Ballarat VIC, 21 July 1920
Enlisted in the RAAF: 26 April 1941
Unit: No. 132 Squadron (RAF), RAF Station Castletown
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 132 Squadron Proctor aircraft R7570), Moray Firth, 9 March 1944, Aged 23 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Leslie Victor and Christina Nisbet Gilbert, of Ballarat, Victoria, Australia
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 257, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 122, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

On 9 March 1944 Proctor R7570 crashed into Moray Firth with the pilot missing from the crash and two survivors rescued. In a statement made by Flying Officer Everall (Medical Officer, No. 132 Squadron) he reported: “I boarded R7570 at RAF Station Turnhouse about 1300 hours en route for
Castletown. While crossing the Moray Firth, the pilot informed me that the oil pressure was dropping and he immediately turned the aircraft west to hit land as quickly as possible. The aircraft engine cut out during the crossing, and he ordered the other two to remove their overcoats and put on Mae Wests. The aircraft ditched close to a fishing vessel. All on board were thrown into the water. Gilbert was wearing his great coat and had no life saving jacket. Everall tried for 15 to 20 minutes to help Gilbert remove his great coat but was unsuccessful due to heavy swell and intense cold. They became separated and Everall did not see Gilbert again. Everall and Redwood were rescued by a trawler about 35 minutes after the crash.”

The crew members of R7570 were:

Flying Officer John Dudley Everall (142601) (RAFVR) (Medical Officer, Supernumerary) Rescued
Flying Officer John Leslie Gilbert (401940) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant E W Redwood (1292439) (RAFVR) Rescued


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/15/199

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