September 19 – Ligoniel man was navigator for Guy Gibson VC

gibson_grave

James Brown Warwick, RAFVR. Squadron Leader. (Navigator). DFC. 156612. Died 19/09/1944. Mosquito (KB 267 AZ-E) of 627 Sqdn. Piloted by Wing Commander Guy Gibson VC. Their graves are side by side in the Netherlands.

Wing Commander Gibson was awarded the Victoria Cross in 1943 for successfully leading 617 Squadron on the daring raids on a series of damns in the industrial Rhur valley in Germany.

James Warwick flew 27 operations on Lancasters with 49 Squadron between June and December 1943. He had been on Operations to locations including The Ruhr, Hamburg, Peenemunde and Berlin.

On the night of 19th September 1944 Gibson led 227 Lancaster bombers and 10 Mosquitos on an attack of Rheydt and Muchengladbach in Germany. On this particular raid Gibson was flying Mosquito KB267 AZ-E with Squadron Leader James Warwick being his Navigator.

There was little opposition from enemy planes to the raid however when the Mosquito in which Gibson and Warwich were flying was returning over the Netherlands it crashed with the loss of both men.

jim_warwick_480

When Sqn Leader Warwick (Photo above) and Wing Commander Gibson’s Mosquito (KB 267 AZ-E) crashed Sqn Leader Warwick’s body was immediately identified by the Germans.
On the other hand documents found near the crash site may have identified Wing Commander Gibson but were retrieved by civilians and hidden. GIbson was identified in German records as an ‘Unknown’ Airman. His name was only added to his grave after the War.

JB Warwick was from Ligoniel, Belfast. His grave is beside that of Wing Commander Gibson in Steenbergen en Kruisland Roman Catholic Cemetery Noord-Brabant, Netherlands

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