Warrant Officer Ronald Desmond GILBERT MID

Service No: 413188
Born: Perth WA, 2 October 1921
Enlisted in the RAAF: 16 August 1941 (at Sydney NSW)
Unit: No. 181 Squadron (RAF)
Awarded the Mentioned in Despatches (MID)
Died: Air Operations: (No. 181 Squadron Typhoon aircraft MN920), France, 19 August 1944, Aged 22 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Arthur Ernest and Lilian May Gilbert, of Tighes Hill, New South Wales, Australia
Roll of Honour: Wickham NSW
Remembered: Panel 259, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 122, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Newcastle Boys High School Memorial Entrance World War II, Waratah NSW
Remembered: The Capt. Clarence Smith Jeffries (V.C.) and Pte. William Matthew Currey (V.C.) Memorial Wall, Sandgate NSW

MID Citation: At about 1400 hours on 6 July 1944 a Typhoon aircraft damaged by enemy action, crashed into eight “readiness” aircraft of No 247 Squadron in the marshalling area, at the downwind end of the strip on B.6 airfield. It immediately burst into flames and set fire to three other aircraft. The remaining five aircraft in the area were in very grave danger of being set alight by the flames, and being damaged by exploding rockets, ammunition, petrol tanks and oxygen bottles. Warrant Officer Gilbert of No. 181 Squadron immediately entered the cockpit of one of the aircraft and attempted to start it. The Typhoon unfortunately would not start, but he courageously remained in the cockpit until it as towed to safety. I consider his attempt to save this aircraft, which was really only ten yards from they nearest burning one, an act of great gallantry and he gave a very fine example to the witnesses of the incident. (Published in the Kings Birthday Honours List 1945)

Typhoon MN 920 flown by Warrant Officer Gilbert was Yellow 4 in the formation of four Typhoons which took off at 1416 hours on 19 August 1944 to carry out an armed reconnaissance in the Maiseux – Vimoutieres – Orbes area in Normandy, France. When they reached the target area the formation split up – Yellow 1 and 2 in Section 1 and Yellow 3 and 4 in Section 2. The pilot of Yellow 3 reported that Yellow 4 had followed him in three rocket propelled attacks on tanks, south east of Vimoutieres. When Yellow 3 broke away from the fouth attack, he observed Yellow 4 flying due south on a straight course at a low altitude, and that this was the last he had seen of Yellow 4 (MN 920). Yellow 4 did not return to base after the mission. Following post war enquiries and investigations when no trace of the missing aircraft or pilot had been found, it was recorded that Warrant Officer Gilbert had no known grave.


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, 166/15/302
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line

Book Now Book Now