Captain Gilbert William “Gibb” Mapplebeck

Captain Gilbert William “Gibb” Mapplebeck

Birth
Liverpool, Metropolitan Borough of Liverpool, Merseyside, England
Death 24 Aug 1915 (aged 22)
Dartford, Dartford Borough, Kent, England
Burial Tooting, London Borough of Wandsworth, Greater London, England
Plot P. 528.
Memorial ID 34154996 · View Source
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Gilbert William Roger Mapplebeck got his flying certificate at Hendon on 7th January 1912 and was an RFC member before the outbreak of war. Born in Liverpool, he initially joined the King's Liverpool Regiment. His father was a dentist. He has the dubious distinction of being the first British pilot injured in aerial combat, when the observer in a German plane caught him in the thigh with a rifle bullet, injuring his leg badly, nearly fataly, and shattering a five-centime piece in his pocket, the bits of which caused considerable further injury. Surprisingly, after nine operations, he was back on duty after three months. While on a sortie, he crashed behind enemy lines. Having burnt his plane, he evaded capture. A fluent French speaker, he was able to travel around Lille without capture, but left the city on foot in an attempt to avoid drawing attention to those who might help him. in fact, he had been helped by the local Mayor, Monsieur Camille Eugene Jacquet and, later, when this was suspected, the Germans executed Jacquet and three others. Mapplebeck escaped to Holland by making a dash while the border-guard was lighting his pipe. He returned to England three weeks after being given up for dead, but later died while flying a Morane-Saulnier Type N "Bullet", a French aircraft similar to the Eindecker, though inferior to it. His was an early RFC loss. He died at Joyce Green, near Dartford.

While evading capture, Mapplebeck was the cause of a terrible shock to a Lille tram conductor, when, with German officers sitting nearby, he tendered a silver coin for his fare. Such coins had been removed from circulation by the Germans, so one can only assume that the conductor took the coin and later replaced it with his own money.


Inscription

Royal Flying Corps

Gravesite Details '

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  • Created by: Kelvin Adams
  • Added: 23 Feb 2009
  • Find A Grave Memorial 34154996
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Captain Gilbert William “Gibb” Mapplebeck (26 Aug 1892–24 Aug 1915), Find A Grave Memorial no. 34154996, citing Streatham Cemetery, Tooting, London Borough of Wandsworth, Greater London, England ; Maintained by Kelvin Adams (contributor 47019579) .