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The Airmen's Stories - P/O J L Gillespie


James Lyon Gillespie was born in Scotland in 1905, the son of Peter Gillespie (1865-1935) and Christina Mary Gillespie (nee Lyon 1871-1968).

He joined the RAF in late December 1939 as a direct-entry Air-Gunner. Gillespie featured in a 1926 newspaper report as proprietor of 'J Lyon Gillespie Publicity Service' of Glasgow, which was expanding rapidly at the time.

He married Florence Ann Le Viscounte, of Jersey, in late 1928 in Manchester.

A syndicated newspaper report in February 1940 described how during an operation for appendicitis in a Louth, Lincolnshire, hospital he 'died' for one minute before his heart started beating again.

He probably did not complete his gunnery training for this reason until May 1940 and then joined 23 Squadron at Collyweston on 12th August.


He flew his last operational sortie on 23rd September but then died in St. Richard's Hospital, Chichester on 1st October 1940. The cause of death is not known but it is not listed as a result of active service.

Gillespie was 34. He is buried in Chichester Cemetery.






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