Aircraftsman 2nd Class Harry Norman J Gibson

Service Royal Navy Service No. F/14744
Rank Aircraftsman 2nd Class
Regiment:Royal Naval Air Service
Ship:HMS President 11, 'F' Squadron
Date of Birth: 13/11/1897
Date of Death: 27/05/1917
Memorial: Dawlish Memorial Inscription GIBSON H.N.J. AIRCRT R.A.F.

Service History

Harry Norman John Gibson joined the Royal Naval Air Service (R.N.A.S.) on the 20th May 1916 “for service in land operations”. He was on the books of H.M.S.PRESIDENT II in Yarmouth from May until 17th November when he was based at Crystal Palace for a month before transferring to the Eastern Mediterranean until his death on 27 May 1917.

The role of an aircraftsman was akin to that of labourer in civilian life. There was no specialised skill such as was required to service machinery, but he was instructed in many different tasks in servicing, refuelling, loading aircraft for action in the air. Bomb loading was most likely one of those tasks.

His naval service record shows that death was by “accidental bomb explosion”. The report in the Dawlish Gazette (See Documents, below) says that his death occurred ‘on Whit-Sunday by the accidental explosion of bombs.’

Association with Dawlish

By 1911 Harry Jennings Gibson had moved to become Station Master, Great Western Railway, Dawlish and he and his wife Edith Mary had moved to 3 San Remo Terrace, Dawlish with Harry Norman John Gibson, 13, a scholar, and mother-in-law and widow Mary Toms Wills, 73. It appears that Frederick James Gibson may have already started working for the Great Western Railway as a railway clerk.

Devon Roll of Honour Gibson, H.N.J., Aircraftsman, R.A.F.
Additional Information Commonwealth War Graves Site

Next of Kin: Harry Jennings Gibson, father
Last Known Address: 3 San Remo Terrace, Dawlish

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