Sunday, December 5, 2010

Ernest William Gimson

Ernest William Gimson was born on 20 Dec 1916 at home at Claremont, 44 London Road in Sawston, Cambridge, England during World War 1. He was the first born child of Ernest Reynolds Gimson and Gladys Hilda Wakefield. Their next child, Roy Gimson, only lived a day. Over the next few years, three girls completed this tight knit family.

In February, 1927, when Ernest (Ernie) was 11 years old, their family immigrated to Australia. They sailed there on the S.S. Berrima and landed in Fremantle. After World War 1, the Australian government looked to Great Britain for immigrants and encouraged those willing to consider resettlement in Australia by offering them assisted passage. Additionally, British immigrants were also eligible to receive land grants and encouraged to settled in rural areas. Their family settled in Babakin, Western Australia as his father purchased land with a store and a home on it.

Everyone in the family helped with the store and Ernie was a great help to his father in running a grocery story and maintain a farm in Western Australia. At 19 years of age, he joined the Royal Air Force in England in 1935 and was just finishing his education when World War II broke out.

Even though Ernie was away from home, he would always remember his sisters and mother at Christmas time and send them jewelry from England. Once World War II started in 1939 he was only able to continue that tradition for a couple more years. While in the Air Force he developed a love for soccer and was able to stay in touch and visit the many relatives still living in England.

Unfortunately, Ernie was reported missing off the coast of Sicily on 25th June, 1941. The family was notified by letter which stated they were part of an attack on a ship and the plane that Ernie was in didn't return from the raid. Various reports state there was a flash from the ship that may have hit the plane causing it to crash. The end result is that he was never seen again and presumed to have met with disaster. To this day he is still listed as "Missing in Action". In the News & Reviews, Cambridge, Sawston 1940-45 Newspaper Cuttings, the following statements were made:

"29th October 1940   Gallant Sawston Man. A bar to his D.F.M. has been awarded to Sergeant Ernest Gimson of 107 Squadron RAF. Sert. Gimson was born at Sawston, but his home is at Babakin Western Australia.  Before joining the RAF he was a shop keeper’s assistant.  He was awarded his DFM in February of this year in Air Operations.”

     The Malta Family History has a "Commonwealth Air Force Memorial" on their website dedicated to the airmen of the Commonwealth who died during World War II in the Mediterranean area but have no known grave. Their entry states:

The actual Malta Memorial is situated in the area of Floriana and is easily identified by the Golden Eagle which surmounts the column and stands outside the main entrance to Valletta. Ther memorial honors almost 2,300 airmen who lost their lives during this war. He was a member of the 69th squardron whose motto is "With Vigilance We Serve", this he did with his life for his country.

Those who knew him miss him and those who have come to know of him also wish they could have enjoyed the company of Ernest William Gimson, a hero to his family, friends and his country.

Ernest William Gimson, 541685, Flight Sergeant, D.F.M. and Bar, Royal Air Force, 69 Squadron, died 26th June 1941, aged 25 years.  Son of Ernest R. and Gladys H. Gimson, of Pendle Hill, New South Wales, Australia.