The Airmen's Stories - F/Lt. D G Gribble
Dorian George Gribble was born in Hendon on 18th June 1919. His family came from the Isle of Wight and he was educated at the Cliff School Shanklin and Ryde School there. He joined the RAF on a short service commission in March 1938.
He was awarded his wings on 19th April then went to No. 1 RAF Depot Uxbridge on 7th May. On the 19th he was posted to 11 FTS Shawbury then joined 54 Squadron at Hornchurch in December 1938. The squadron was then equipped with Gladiators but these were soon replaced by Spitfires.
Gribble claimed a Me109 destroyed on a patrol over France on 24th May 1940. The next day his Spitfire N3103 was damaged in combat and he landed on a beach near Dunkirk. Carrying his radio, which he considered was too secret to fall into enemy hands, he returned to England by ship and rejoined his squadron.
Above: 54 Squadron pilots just before Dunkirk, Gribble is seated second from left.
On 25th July he claimed two Me109's destroyed, on 15th August he destroyed a Me109 and damaged a Ju87 and a Do17, on the 16th he damaged a Me109, on the 18th destroyed another Me109 and damaged a Me110 and two He111's. Gribble got a probable Me109 on the 22nd, destroyed another and damaged a Me110 on the 24th, shot down two Me109's on the 28th and shared another on the 31st.
He was awarded the DFC (gazetted 13th August 1940).
He probably destroyed a Me109 on 2nd September and the next day the squadron moved to Catterick for a rest. Gribble damaged a Ju88 on 27th October over the Cleveland Hills and damaged a He111 on 6th November southeast of Catterick.
When 54 returned to Hornchurch in February 1941, Gribble was the only original member.
On 4th June 1941 the Hornchurch Wing carried out a sweep in the Calais/Dunkirk/Boulogne area. Gribble led his section to attack two Me109's and appeared to sustain damage to his engine in the engagement. He lost height and at something less than 1500 feet he baled out of Spitfire V R7275 and was seen to fall into the sea.
ASR launches made a long search of the area but found no trace.
Gribble is remembered on the Runnymede Memorial, panel 29.
Above image courtesy of Dean Sumner