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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Lieutenant Lancelot D.L. Gibbs


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I've recently been looking at some of the very early UK pilots. One who caught my attention was Lancelot (or Launcelot) D.L. Gibbs, who made brief flights in Scotland in 1908, and later was among the first to get a pilot's certificate in both Britain and France in 1910. He vanishes from the record very soon thereafter, though it seems he may have moved to Switzerland and gone bankrupt in 1911.

So... what happened to him? Who was he? He was listed as "Lieutenant L.D.L. Gibbs" when he got his license, and this site suggests he may have been involved in some capacity with the 1910 Army manoeuvres that first experimented with aircraft. (However, most sources seem to say there were two aircraft present, and don't mention him). If he had a military rank and was a trained pilot it seems very likely that he would have wound up in the RFC come 1914/15, though the bankruptcy might have put paid to that.

There's a Lancelot M Gibbs, a lieutenant in the Coldstream Guards who became quite a senior staff officer -

- but it seems reasonably clear that it's not the same person.

Any ideas? Bit of a mystery, this one...


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A few snippets;

Militia - The Duke of Connaught's Own Hampshire and Isle

of Wight; Second Lieutenant L. D. L. Gibbs
to be Lieutenant. Dated 1st April, 1907
Who's Who in the British War Mission in the United States of America 1918
GIBBS, Lieut. Launcelot Dwarris
Louis; born June 16, 1885; educated
at Little John's, Greenwich, and
military crammer's. Joined service,
1905, as 2nd Lieut. D.C. own
Regt. of Artillery; 1906 sent to
H.M. Balloon Factory, Aldershot,
for aeronautical course in kites and
ballooning; 1907 transferred to
R.F.A. and sent back to H.M. Bal-
loon Factory to experiment in aero-
nautical work in conjunction with
Lieut. Dunne's aeroplane and later
to Blair Athol where the first flight
was made. Returned to 15th Bde.
R.F.A. Continued aeronautical work
and was detailed to demonstrate
practical use of aeroplane in ma-
noeuvres with Capt. Bertram Drake-
son; also R.F.A. 1914-1917; became
subject to medical treatment for
injuries sustained while flying.
Joined Mission June 27, 1917. — c/o
War Office, London, and 280, Broad-
way, New York.
There is a Lancelot L D Gibbs who dies in Looe, Cornwall, 6th December 1945, aged 60.
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Thanks! Wonder why I couldn't find a medal card anywhere?

Reading between the lines, I wonder if he left the RFA following bankruptcy and returned in 1914. Will have to dig around a little more...


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I found his birth registered in Bath and realised that his correct name was Louis Dwarris La(u)ncelot Gibbs, and found a few more entries;

1913 - Resigns commission - https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/28737/page/5059

1917 - Temp Lt while on recruiting duties (Seems to match USA as above) - https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/30203/supplement/7599

I can't find anything between those dates.

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