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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. J V Gill


James Vivian Gill, of Bawtry, Doncaster was born there on 23rd July 1921, the son of Dennis Gill and Eva Beardsall Frost. His family later moved to Luton, Bedfordshire.

Gill joined the RAFVR in August 1939 as an Airman u/t Aircrew. Called up on 1st September that year he completed his training as an Air Gunner and was posted to 23 Squadron, operating Blenheims, at Middle Wallop on 29th September 1940.

Later posted to 115 Squadron at Marham, on the night of 29th/30th June he was aloft in Wellington R1509 KO-P on a sortie to Hamburg. Between Bremen and Hamburg Gill, in the tail gunner position, shot down a Me109.

The Wellington was then shot down by a night fighter piloted by Unteroffizier Herbert Ludwig of 5./NJG 1, who was flying a Me110 from Stade airfield. Gill was wounded.

The whole crew baled out successfully but Gill landed in a tree. When he released his parachute harness he fell forty feet to the ground and was critically injured.

The Wellington crashed at Bremervoerde between Bremen and Hamburg. The crew were taken to the nearby Marlag PoW camp except for Gill and Wild, who was also injured, who were taken to the hospital of Stalag XB at Sandbostel.

The other crew, all PoW, were:

P/O SW Wild
P/O W Hetherington
Sgt. TL Davidson
Sgt. EA Gibbs


After liberation SW Wild, now a F/Lt., made the following statement:

We were shot down by a fighter above PoW camp Stalag XB at Sandbostel. The fight was watched by PoWs. They reported afterwards that the fighter (i.e. the Me109) hit the ground before we did. This was confirmed by naval officers in Marlag. The fighter was shot down by Sgt. James Gill who, although badly wounded and the aircraft in flames, continued to fire his guns. Knowing that he could not receive a posthumous DFM, I recommended him for this decoration to Capt. White (Rev G Howard White), C of E Padre at Marlag, when I was told he was dying (1-7-41). He said he would send this to W/C Day at Stalag Luft 1 Barth.

Gill died at Sandbostel on 2nd July 1941 and was buried at the camp cemetery at Parnewinkel. He was moved to Becklingen War Cemetery, Soltau in 1946.



Above image courtesy of Flipside 20.



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