Biography and Notes
3rd son of Canon Reginald Gibbs, MA. Baptised at Clifton Hampden 19 November 1905. Educated at Lancing College (Foundation Scholar) 1919-24 and at Royal Military College, Sandhurst, 1924-26. Army Staff College, Camberley, 1939.
Captain of the School at Lancing and in the school Athletic Team in 1923 and 1924. At Sandhurst in the 1st Association football team; a junior under officer there; passed out 6th. Gazetted to The Queen's Royal Regiment February 1926 and joined 2nd Battalion in Allahabad, India, in March the same year, returning to UK via Sudan with his Regiment in 1928. Adjutant, Regimental Depot 1930. In 1934-35 at London University and in Italy studying Italian under War Office auspices, prior to becoming an Italian military Interpreter. A/Staff Captain 9 Inf. Bde., Portsmouth, 1936. Promoted Captain 1937 and appointed Adjutant 2nd Bn. Queen's Royal Regt. in Isle of Wight. Nominated to vacancy at Staff College, Camberley, January 1939.
Following outbreak of war in Sept. 1939 was appointed, in November, Staff Captain (A) G.H.Q. BEF France. In February 1940 Brigade Major 144 Inf. Bde. in 48 Divn. and in May, on the German invasion of Holland and Belgium, moved up with the Bde. to outskirts of Waterloo. Took part in the Retreat to Dunkirk and evacuated from Dunkirk beaches on 1st June 1940. (Mentioned in Despatches). 1940-41 on Staff at H.Q. 10 Corps, Catterick, and at H.Q. Eastern Comd. Luton Hoo. March 1942 appointed to command 1/6 Queen's Royal Regiment, serving in Egypt in 8th Army and taking part in battles of Bir el Munassib, Adam Haifa and El Alamein. Whilst serving in Egypt was mentioned in Despatches and awarded the DSO.
Captured in the Desert in October 1942 and taken by air to Italy. Held in various POW camps 1942-43, from Bari to near Cremona in the valley of the river Po, from whence he escaped in Sept. 1943. Trekked 600 miles down the Appenines before reaching Allied Lines near Naples in November 1943. Details of the escape are recorded in a book, privately published, Appenine Journey, Diary of Travels across Italy after escaping from P.O. W. Camp.
November 1943-Feb. 1944 sick leave in U.K. June 10 1944 ordered to Normandy Beach Head to take over command of 2nd Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment, whose C.O. had been killed in the Normandy landings 3 days earlier. Remained in command throughout operations in France, Belgium and Holland up to the Rhine in Germany. Awarded Bar to D.S.O. for action whilst under command of II Armd. Divn. near Falaise.
March 1945 appointed GSO I Liaison 24 Army Gp. and subsequently returned to U.K. to command 166 Inf. Officer Cadet Unit in Isle of Man. Oct. 1945 in command Basic O.C.T.U. Aldershot to reform it into the Mons Officer Cadet School; appointed Acting Colonel. 1946 in command 1st Bn. of his own Regiment, The Queen's Royal Regt. in Malaya. 1948 Commandant Eaton Hall Officer Cadet School, Chester. 1950 retired, remaining on Regular Army Reserve of Officers, with mobilization appointment in rank of full Colonel.
1950-63 market gardening at Roborough House, Nr. Plymouth; Member of Board of Governors, St. Dunstan's Abbey School, Plymouth 1951-66; Member of House of Laity, Church Assembly 1965-70; Church Warden, St. Mary the Virgin, Bickleigh, 1951-63, member of the P.C.C. and Manager of the Church School at Bickleigh; member of the P.C.C. of Parish Church of St. Eustachius, Tavistock, since 1965.
Interests: Gardening; Bird Watching (Member R.S.P.B.).
Clubs: Sometime member Junior United Service and Senior Army & Navy (the Rag); more recently, St. John House Club (Order of St. John of Jerusalem).
Portrait: Crayon by Robert Needham 1947.