Wing Commander Guy Gibson VC – WWII Wings in Flypast

RAF Pilot Flt Lt Matt Brighty posing in front of his No.XI Squadron Eurofighter Typhoon with Wing Commander Guy Gibson's pilot's wings. Flt Lt Brighty flew the wings in his Typhoon around Lincoln Cathedral on Friday 24th January. Flight Lieutenant Brighty said, “Guy Gibson flew most of his operations from Lincolnshire, at Scampton and here at Coningsby. It’s a huge honour and privilage to be asked to carry his wings with me as I fly over Lincoln...” The wings were on a uniform that was left at Coningsby after Wg Cdr Guy Gibson VC was killed in action in 1944. They will be on display at an exhibition in Lincoln, ‘Bastion in the Air: A Century of Valour’ that features Gibson’s Victoria Cross medal won for leading the Dambusters mission in 1943. The event will also showcase other artefacts from RAF personnel decorated for gallantry. (photo by SAC Ben Mayfield)

The Royal Air Force conducted a touching tribute to Wing Commander Guy Gibson VC on Friday January 24th. Flight Lieutenant Matt Brighty flew his 11 Squadron Eurofighter Typhoon from RAF Coningsby around the spires of nearby Lincoln Cathedral while bearing the RAF wings which once belonged to the legendary WWII pilot. As most readers will remember, Gibson helped form RAF No.617 Squadron during early 1943 for the specialized and extraordinarily perilous pursuit of Operation Chastise, the daring nighttime ‘bouncing bomb’ raid which breached two massive hydroelectric dams in Germany’s Rhur Valley during the night of May 16th/17th that year.

While 617 Squadron trained for and launched Operation Chastise from nearby RAF Scampton, Gibson spent a significant part of his combat career, both before and after the mission, at RAF Coningsby. Indeed, the pilot’s wings flying aboard Flt Lt Brighty’s Typhoon this January were a legacy of Gibson’s time at Coningsby; his family found them on a uniform hanging in his locker at the RAF station following his loss over the Netherlands (returning from on a nighttime mission to Munich in a deHavilland Mosquito on September 19th, 1944). Gibson had flown on 175 combat missions by the time of his death at the age of just 26. Interestingly, Gibson had also served in night fighters on both Bristol Blenheims and Beaufighters earlier in the war. He is credited with four confirmed aerial victories, and about as many unconfirmed as well…

Following the ceremonial flypast of Wing Commander Gibson’s wings around Ely Cathedral, the Typhoon’s pilot, Flight Lieutenant Brighty, noted that, “Guy Gibson flew most of his operations from Lincolnshire, at Scampton and here at Coningsby. It’s a huge honour and privilage to be asked to carry his wings with me as I fly over Lincoln today.” The precious badge is now on display alongside his Victoria Cross at an exhibition entitled ‘Bastion in the Air: A Century of Valour’ within The Collection Lincoln & Usher Gallery. The show which also contains artifacts from other RAF personnel of note spanning WWI through the Cold War will be open through March 15th.

 

Aircorps Art Dec 2019

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