M.413  First Officer John Wright Gibbs 

flag scotland

 b. 28 Mar 1915, Queensferry, W. Lothian, Scotland 4 May 1941 to 21 Apr 1944 (as pilot) 

 ata john gibbs ATA

 ata john gibbs 1946 1946    


prev. a salesman (Gents Tailors), and a Ground Instructor for Marshall's Flying School, Cambridge

m. , one child before 1941

RAFVR Sgt in General Duties Branch, Apr-39 to Aug-40, exp. 70 hrs solo

Address in 1941: 34 Elfloda Rd, Cambridge

Postings: 4FPP, 4aFPP, 1FPP, 10FPP

He had 4 'at fault' accidents:

- 30 Jun 1941: overshot on landing in Fairey Battle P6668;

- 24 Oct 1941: his Hurricane BE341 collided with a Blenheim in bad visibility [suspended for 3 days without pay for landing late and in bad weather];

- 22 Mar 1942: failed to control landing swing in Spitfire Vb BL775, swung off runway and nosed over, and

- 11 Jun 1942: failed to control swing (again), but at least there were extenuating circumstances in that he was making a single-engine forced landing in Beaufort W6498 at the time.

He was then injured as a passenger in yet another 'landing swing' accident on 22 Apr 1943; "Consolidated Catalina FP321 swung on landing after a training flight and sank. The accident on Cumbrae involved Captain Ernest Cook, Flight Captain Jose Carreras from Spain, and Flying Officer Gibbs, who all survived the accident, but sadly, the body of Flight Engineer Harold Frank Peter Waldron was never found. Flight Captain Jose Maria Carreras, who was a former Spanish Civil War pilot, was instructing on the seaplane when through no fault of his own, the aircraft crashed." 


"Mr J.W Gibbs, for many years afterwards Air Safety Officer for BEA, was a co-pilot when the plane crashed. 

“Gibbie, as he was known by everyone, found himself swimming in the water with the wing floating close by with one of the crew sitting on it. When he put up his arms to grab the wing he found, for the first time that his right arm had been taken off at the shoulder as he was flung from the plane.”



"A good officer whose flying was entirely satisfactory."

Transferred to Admin (Air Accidents Investigation Officer)  Apr-44 [at a salary of £525 a year.]

 Off sick from 29 Nov 1944 to 13 Apr 1945 - "Reporting to Canadian Hospital"

When he returned to flying, "This pilot flew the Moth and Argus well and is perfectly safe on those types. These two aircraft are at the moment the limit of his ability due to his physical handicap."

"Occupational Ability: Average. Very good but inclined to be erratic."

"General Remarks: With growing experience his judgement is improving. At first he was inclined to be a little emotional and prejudiced in his judgement, and to be argumentative, but he is settling down."

ATA contract terminated Jan-46.

 Download ATA Pilot Personal Record (.zip file):

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