Pilot Officer James Walter Gibbons

Birth: August 10, 1911 in Kelowna, BC
Death: February 20, 1944 in Wahrburg, Germany
Service: WWII
Service Number: J85819


James Walter Gibbons moved to Richmond in 1924 where he attended Richmond High School, graduating in 1928. He was married to Lorraine O'Donnell Champion and his service records indicate that they had two children. His occupation was that of nurseryman and he worked for his father, Walter John Gibbons, from 1928 to 1937. Mr. and Mrs. W.J. Gibbons were well-known florists operating from their No. 5 Road property. From 1937 until his enlistment, he and his brother George Gibbons were in joint partnership. His address at enlistment was RR#2 Eburne, but his family later moved to North Vancouver.

Jimmie Gibbons enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force December 13, 1941 at Vancouver and was posted to Edmonton, St. Hubert, and Toronto for training as an Air Navigator. He departed for England in November 1942 and was promoted to Pilot Officer in October 1943.

On February 20, 1944 #429 Bison Squadron took part in a night attack against Leipiz, Germany. The Halifax aircraft #LK974 went missing during this action and was later found to have crashed at Wahrburg, Germany. James Gibbons was killed along with four other crew members but one man was taken prisoner. The crew were initially buried in the Gohre Cemetery 3 miles from Stendal, but were later re-interred in the Berlin British Military Cemetery. James Gibbons was listed as 'missing in action believed killed' initially, and was 'presumed dead' after one month.

History of the Road Name (Gibbons Drive):

  • Council Resolution to adopt road name: Council Minutes February 4, 1949, res. 8711, pg. 45