454 and 459 RAAF Squadrons
Sergeant Thomas Norman GIBSON
454 RAAF Squadron
Service No: 1385020 (RAFVR)
Date of Birth: 1921
Place of Birth: England
Son of Ernest and Gladys Gibson, husband of Doreen Gibson of Stockwell UK
Roll of Honour: MIA 08 Nov 1943
Place: Alamein Memorial, Column 270.
THE CREW: Killed in Action 08.11.1943
Pilot Officer William Clarkson (133764) (RAFVR) (Pilot)
Sergeant Thomas Norman Gibson (1385020) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Sergeant Charles Edward Roy Lane (1314918) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Flying Officer Douglas Victor Mansell (135913) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
The following is a description of the events that lead to the disappearacnce of Sgt. Gibson extracted from "Alamein to the Alps" by Mark Lax
Between the Italian Capitulation on 8 September and 3 October, German reinforcements amounting to 110 aircraft were moved to the Eastern Med, making a total of 345 front-line aircraft facing the Allies. 454 Squadron soon realised this as reports of sightings and attacks by German fighters soon increased.
By early November, the Germans were intent on recapturing their lost island garrisons, so 454 Squadron crews reported much activity over Cos, Leros and Samos. Ju-88s were seen bombing the island outposts and smoke from the action could be seen many miles away.
On 6 November, Flying Officer Ray Crouch bounced FW297 and collapsed the undercarriage on landing in the gusty weather and damaged the airframe beyond repair. Luckily the crew were unhurt.
Two days later there was worse news. Pilot Officer William ‘Jock’ Clarkson and the all RAF crew went missing in FA523:W. They reported sighting enemy forces during a morning patrol and were later spotted by another Baltimore, but that was the last sighting. Lost too were Flying Officer Doug Mansell, Sergeant Tom Gibson and Sergeant Charles Lane. What happened to the aircraft is anybody’s guess – lost without trace