The Dambusting VC

Perhaps the most famous of all aviating VC holders, Guy Gibson commanded the legendary 617 Sqn during Operation Chastise in May 1943.

Guy Penrose Gibson was born in Simla, India on August 12, 1918 where his father was working as a civil servant. When the family returned to Britain, Guy entered the public school system.

It has been reported that his love of flying stemmed from a school tutor who owned a retired Great War-era biplane and often took his students for air experience flights.

If so, it made an indelible impression on young Guy who attempted to pursue an aviation career at the earliest opportunity. In 1935, at the age of just 17, Gibson applied to Vickers Aviation for a job as a test pilot but was politely told to join the RAF in order to learn to fly and gain some experience. Initially rejected for being too short, Gibson was eventually accepted by the RAF for a commission on January 31, 1937 – although his aim was still to gain experience before pursuing a civilian career.


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