Battle Of Britain Mystery, Any validity?

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by MongoUK, Dec 29, 2018.

  1. MongoUK

    MongoUK Junior Member

    Evening all,

    Have had a discussion with someone in regards to one of their relatives, which sets some alarm bells off, so I thought I would inquire.

    The story I was told was, this persons grandad was a test pilot either pre or at the start of the war for I assume a plane manufacturer, he was told that he was recruited to fly in the Battle of Britain when pilot numbers were down, just picking pilots up where possible.

    He also said that he flew Lancasters over Gemany a few times.

    He also claims that he wasn't officially recruited into the RAF.

    Is there any realm where this isn't a complete fantasy? I don't buy it, but don't know enough to make a conclusion either way, or to spend any time looking into it in more detail.

  2. RAFCommands

    RAFCommands Senior Member

    Not impossible.

    Quill took part in the Battle of Britain and FAA ops.
    Jeffrey Quill - Wikipedia

    Henshaw flew both Spitfire and Lancaster and dabbled on the scene of operational squadrons
    Alex Henshaw - Wikipedia

    Both expounded that their role needed the benefit of operational feedback to make testing beneficial for production aircraft release into service.

    Roly Falk test pilot at RAE took part on night fighter ops
    Roland Falk - Wikipedia

    Most most test pilots either did the same or were ops before becoming late war or post war test pilots eg Bill Bedford
    Bill Bedford - Wikipedia

    Possibly family confusion with the above public figures for the actual role of the relative - but family history is never fully wrong or fully correct.

    Even senior civilian employees of Civil Service tended to be given a commissioned rank so that they could be members of the officer mess when on temp duty on RAF stations so unlikely that he will have left no trace.

    Last edited: Dec 29, 2018
    canuck and Dave55 like this.
  3. MongoUK

    MongoUK Junior Member

    Brilliant, thanks Ross.

    I'll extend my lines of inquiry further.
  4. Kash Seal

    Kash Seal Member

    Yes i agree, if indeed your friends father was a test pilot there would be evidence, either from the company he worked for (Hawker/Avro/Bristol/Gloster etc...) Plus RAF were not in the habit of letting test pilots go on combat missions. Just because a pilot was good doesnt mean they automatically would make a good combat pilot. The only exceptions i can think of was Eddie Rickenbacker and Ernst Udet. Plus if the guy had flown bombers on missions even just once, he would first have had to been trained and accepted by the RAF thus being issued with the correct paperwork, uniform and of course, his wings badge. It all sounds rather dubious to me. Perhaps you can ask your friend what squadron he was in?....
  5. jimbop

    jimbop Banned

    fighter pilot in battle of britain?....and flew lancs over germany?....but not in the RAF?
    this reeks of 'complete bollox' imo, i would love to be proved wrong though! lol
    Kash Seal likes this.
  6. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA Patron

    Supposedly Lindbergh flew '50 secret combat missions'. The same story seems to be repeated in many sources. Sounds fishy to me.
  7. Kash Seal

    Kash Seal Member

    I've heard the same about Lindbergh but i seriously doubt those claims.
    Even Clark Gable had a bash over France apparently! But i give more credence those than the phantom bomber pilot.....
  8. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    To his eternal credit, Jimmy Stewart was the real deal. 20 verified combat missions before PTSD symptoms grounded him. His missions included raids to Berlin, Brunswick, Bremen, Frankfurt, and Schweinfurt with the 445th B-24 bomber group. The raid on Gotha, Germany, led to the loss of 13 planes and 130 men.
    Stewart refused to discuss his combat missions and remained modest about his service until the end of his life.
    Admirable for a celebrity who could have easily sat it out.

    A profound difference in appearance from photos taken in 1942 and later in 1944.
  9. Kash Seal

    Kash Seal Member

    I did hear a that Stewart was in some kind of service during ww2, but not to the extent of your knowledge. Thats pretty amazing considering most celebs got special treatment so to speak. And taking part in the schweinfurt mission alone is incredible. Incredible he survived! They lost about 50 bombers on that raid alone, against the ball bearing plant. I assume thats the mission your referring to. But werent they all B-17's? Im not sure of any B-24's on that specific mission but i could be wrong....
    Anyway, its still good to know. Im always interested in gaining more knowledge about ww2, especially the airwar.
    canuck likes this.
  10. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    Schweinfurt was raided no fewer than 22 times by both US and British bombers but the Black Thursday raid (60 of the 229 attacking B-17 bombers were lost) on October August 14, 1943 did not involve B-24's.
    CL1, Kash Seal and Tricky Dicky like this.
  11. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA Patron

    CL1, Kash Seal and canuck like this.
  12. Kash Seal

    Kash Seal Member

    I did kinda guess that was the reason. Thanks for the info tho sir!
    canuck likes this.
  13. Markyboy

    Markyboy Member

    Lindbergh flew combat missions? Best check the German archives for those.........

    Wading in on the original thread, I can't see the 'not RAF' part here, especially if they had charge of a Bomber with a crew. Possibly lost in translation somewhere down the family oral history route. No doubt several pilots served in both the BofB and later flew Lancs. Tony Iveson springs to mind, started off in the BoB and finished up in 617sq bombing the Tirpitz.
  14. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    Lindbergh's racial and political opinions are not defensible, but when the US got into the war he did indeed attempt to join the service. He was repeatedly turned down--bizarrely, since he was still relatively young and had previously held a commission. He was hired by Ford as a civilian engineer, went to work in their aviation division, and eventually went to the Pacific as a technical advisor. I have been checking around and by all accounts he did indeed fly missions with the 475th Fighter Group in the Southwest Pacific and also with Marine air in the Central Pacific. Unless everything I have been reading (in Bergerud's Fire in the Sky and a site devoted to the 475th, etc.) is wrong Lindbergh fired his guns, dropped ordnance, and shot down a Japanese aircraft. His main job was to teach pilots how to extend the range of their aircraft, and as an expert in fuel economy he did this with great success. Say what you like about America First, but Lindbergh was a great aviator and a brave man and his technical work was a significant contribution to the war effort. I think it a great pity that he was not allowed to serve in the USAAF, in which he would without doubt have won high rank.
  15. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    And photos to prove it:

    Charles Lindbergh - Helps the 5th Air Force

    Pete Rose was a great ball player but some sins are never forgiven. .
  16. MongoUK

    MongoUK Junior Member

    Sorry to let this go quiet. Having spoken to my buddy, he has stated that he got the info directly from his grandad, his name was Albert Gibbs. Categorically stated he was never officially part of the RAF.

    He has also said that he would have lived around the Romford area. This rang alarm bells as RAF Hornchurch is in the vicinity. Not sure if it's all fantasy after seeing the planes taking off locally and wanting to feel a part of it all.

    How would you go about looking into company records for Avro etc?

    On a side note, Jimmy Stewart flew out of RAF Polebrook, about 5 miles from where I live.

    Thanks guys.
    Chris C likes this.
  17. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Perhaps someone can look up the 1939 register to see where he lived and his job role
  18. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    On 1939 Register, there are 20 Albert Gibbs living in the County of Essex

    If I close the search down to Romford then there is only 1 result
    Albert G Gibbs 26 Apr 1902 Essex, England Mabel P, Edgar M

    born 1902 living with his wife & son


    Name: Albert G Gibbs
    Gender: Male
    Marital status: Married
    Birth Date: 26 Apr 1902
    Residence Year: 1939
    Address: 27 Weald Way
    Residence Place: Romford , Essex, England
    Occupation: Railway Clerk
    CL1 likes this.
  19. James Harvey

    James Harvey Senior Member

    Could he have been ata flying surplus aircraft to aerodromes they flew both fighters and bombers but not operational

    Later in the war after Normandy they may even have flown to France to supply new aircraft
    Dave55 likes this.
  20. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Could it be a tall story?

    TD posted this so Romford area

    Name: Albert G Gibbs
    Gender: Male
    Marital status: Married
    Birth Date: 26 Apr 1902
    Residence Year: 1939
    Address: 27 Weald Way
    Residence Place: Romford , Essex, England
    Occupation: Railway Clerk

Share This Page