Mevagissey harbour  Visiting Cornwall Logo - background is part of Bodmin Moor as seen from Jamaica Inn at Altarnun. The road in the picture is the main A30 through Cornwall. Eden Project near St Austell 


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Guy Gibson was born in Simla, India on 12 August 1918. He moved with his family to Porthleven, near Helston,in 1924. In 1926 he attended St Georges's Prep School in Folkestone, Kent and later St Edward's School, Oxford.

In 1936 he joined the RAF, becoming an Acting Pilot Officer. His service number was 39438. He learnt to fly at No 2 Flying Training School at RAF Scopwick in Lincolnshire. By the start of the Second World War he was a bomber pilot with 83 Squadron, flying the Handley Page Hampden. In July 1940 he won the Distinguished Flying Cross. After completing his first tour of duty of 27 operational sorties, Gibson volunteered for RAF Fighter Command. He was posted to 29 Squadron flying Bristol Blenheims in a day fighter and bomber escort role. As a night fighter pilot flying the Bristol Beaufighter with 29 Squadron he claimed four kills in 99 sorties. His final night fighter operations were in December 1941 and he won a bar to his DFC. In November 1942 he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order. At the beginning of 1942 Gibson was transferred to 51 OTU as Chief Flying Instructor. In April 1942 he was promoted to Wing Commander and at 23 he was posted back to command 106 Squadron RAF Bomber Command. During the next 11 months he led 106, flying the Avro Manchester and then the Avro Lancaster, personally completing 46 sorties.

In 1943 he was selected to command the new 617 Squadron, formed specifically to destroy dams in the Ruhr area (the Dambusters Raid). To accomplish this they were provided with the bouncing bomb designed and developed by Barnes Wallis. On the night of 16 May 1943 the 19 Lancasters carried one bomb each. It took five attempts to breach the Moehne Dam. Gibson then led the three remaining Lancasters to attack and breach the Eder Dam. Two other dams were attacked but not breached. 11 of the bombers survived the mission; 53 crew members died in the raid. After the Dams raid, Gibson was awarded the Victoria Cross in recognition not just of the raid, but his leadership and valour demonstrated as master bomber on many previous sorties. In December 1943 he was awarded the Legion of Merit (Commander) by the President of the United States of America.

On 19th September 1944 Guy Gibson flew out of RAF Helmswell on a bombing raid on Rheydt (now a borough of Mönchengladbach). He was killed when his Mosquito crashed near Steenbergen in the Netherlands. Many years later it was revealed that this had been as a result of "friendly fire" from an air gunner in a Lancaster bomber mistaking Gibson's Mosquito for a Junkers Ju 88 and fired 600 rounds into it.

Porthleven has a Street called Gibson Way named after Guy Gibson. In the village cemetery there is a memorial bearing his name. The name of Guy Gibson also appears on the village War Memorial overlooking the harbour. His grave is located in Steenbergen en Kruisland RC Churchyard in the Netherlands.

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