Pilot Officer Maxwell Albert John GILBERT

Service No: 442454
Born: Beverley SA, 26 June 1925
Enlisted in the RAAF: 31 July 1943
Unit: No. 75 Squadron, Tarakan
Died: Prisoner of War (from the loss of No. 75 Squadron Kittyhawk aircraft A29-1025 on 7 July 1945), Borneo, 24 July 1945, Aged 20 Years
Buried: Labuan War Cemetery, Malaysia
CWGC Additional Information: Son of John and Ethel Harriett Gilbert, of Mile End, South Australia
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 103, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA, North Terrace, Adelaide

On 7 July 1945, Pilot Officer Cannon in A29-1025 was flying as Rebite Red 4 and Pilot Officer Gilbert as Rebite Red 3 in A29-1015, on a bombing and strafing mission to Kamansi, north east Borneo. At 1455 hours the aircraft were proceeding on course to Kamansi, when 8/10th cloud was encountered on our track. As it was too high to climb over, the Leader of the formation of four aircraft, turned sharply left. Being on the inside Pilot Officer Cannon dropped astern before the turn. His aircraft began to flick, so he loosened the turn and flew on instruments out of the cloud. The Leader and Nos. 2 and 3 were slightly above and to the right when he came out of the cloud. A29- 1025 (No 3) had apparently flicked and the aircraft was on its back. Looking out, Pilot Officer Cannon saw that Gilbert had baled out and was parachuting down. He pinpointed the position as 15 miles and a bearing 330 degrees from Kalabakan and reported this to the Leader. Others saw Gilbert’s chute settle in the trees.

Pilot Officer Gilbert was found by the Japanese on 13 July. He had caught a chill on the 16 July, and was highly feverish on the way to Tawao. He was treated by a Japanese medical officer for malaria, ulcers and died on 24 July 1945. There was no evidence of ill treatment found beyond the march to Tawao when he wandered in the jungle and arrived at Tawao on the 18 July.


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A9845, 169


Wilson, S. (Stewart) Spitfire, Mustang and Kittyhawk in Australian Service, Aerospace Publications Weston Creek ACT 2611, 1988

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