Graham Pitchfork profiles Guy Gibson, the fearless pilot who led the fabled Dambusters raid in 1943, and arguably Britain’s most famous VC recipient
Born in India in August 1918, Guy Penrose Gibson spent his childhood in England and was educated at St Edward’s School, Oxford. He joined the RAF and was commissioned in January 1937. After completing his training as a pilot he joined 83 Squadron, which was still equipped with the Hawker Hind biplane bomber. The Handley Page Hampden soon replaced these.
On the day World War Two broke out, 83 Squadron sent nine aircraft to bomb German naval units. Gibson and his crew were among them, but no targets were found. It was to be another seven months before 83 Squadron and Gibson began regular operations, which included dropping mines off the coasts of Germany and Denmark. After the German invasion of the Low Countries and France, RAF bombing missions commenced over Germany. Gibson flew 27 war sorties before being rested and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.