View Full Version : P/O Frederick William,GATES - No. 101 Squadron – DSO citation vs recommendation

10th February 2022, 21:22
GATES, Frederick William, P/O (126623) – No. 101 Squadron – Distinguished Service Order – awarded as per London Gazette dated 23 March 1943. Joint citation with 621162 Flight Sergeant George Frederick DOVE (Conspicuous Gallantry Medal (Flying). 1313768 Sergeant Ivan Henry HAZARD (awarded DFM), 1127080 Sergeant William Ernest" WILLIAMS (awarded DFM), 654077 Sergeant James Fortune BAIN (awarded DFM) and 1112525 Sergeant Leslie AIREY (awarded DFM)

On the night of i4th February, 1943, Pilot Officer Gates, Flight Sergeant Dove and Sergeants Williams, Bain and Airey were members of the crew of an aircraft captained by Sergeant Hazard, which was detailed to attack Milan. Whilst over the target area, the aircraft was attacked by an enemy fighter from -close range. Its gunfire exploded some incendiary bombs which had failed to release and a fire quickly developed in the bomber. The fuselage became a mass of flames reaching through the mid-upper turret manned by Flight Sergeant Dove. Ammunition in the turret boxes and ducts commenced to explode in all directions. In the.face of an appalling situation, Flight Sergeant Dove coolly remained at his post. Although he was burned about the hands and face, he manned his guns with grim resolution, skill and accuracy. He delivered a devastating burst at the attacker, which had already been engaged and hit by the rear gunnner and succeeded in destroying it. Disregarding the roaring flames, he then descended from his turret and went to the assistance of Sergeant Airey, the rear gunner, who had been wounded, and extricated him from the rear turret. The situation had become extremely critical and Sergeant Hazard ordered the crew to prepare to abandon aircraft. When informed that one of his comrades was helpless he decided, in spite of the grave risk entailed, to attempt a forced landing. Meanwhile, Pilot Officer Gates, assisted by Sergeants Williams and Bain bravely tackled the fire with extinguishers and succeeded in getting it under control. The aircraft was now down to 800 feet but, as the fire had subsided. Sergeant Hazard quickly decided to attempt to fly the badly damaged bomber home. He regained height and displaying fine airmanship crossed the Alps in safety, although i engine failed whilst so doing. On the remainder of the journey Pilot Officer Gates 3 rendered valuable assistance to his captain and frequently ministered to his wounded comrade, Although this necessitated clambering over a hole s in the floor of the aircraft in darkness. Aided by the skilful navigation of Sergeant Williams and good work by Sergeant Bain, the flight engineer, Sergeant Hazard succeeded in flying the seriously damaged aircraft back to this country. In circumstances of the greatest danger, this aircraft crew displayed-courage, fortitude and devotion, to duty in keeping with the highest traditions of the Royal Air Force.

Recommendation dated 16 February 1943 in AIR 2/4951; he had flown seven sorties (45 hours 45 minutes). Cited with Flight Sergeant G.F. Dove (CGM), Sergeant I.H. Hazard (CGM), Sergeant W.E. Williams (CGM), Sergeant J.F. Bain (CGM) and Sergeant L. Airey (CGM)

During the raid on Milan on the night of the 14th February, Pilot Officer Gates was the Wireless Operator of a Lancaster aircraft which was attacked by an enemy night fighter when over the target area. The enemy aircraft was destroyed but as a result of the combat, extensive damage was caused to the Lancaster through incendiary bombs still hung up in a rear compartment being ignited by the enemy’s gunfire. The fuselage became a mass of flames amidships and reached through to the mid-upper turret where ammunition in the boxes and ducts was exploding.

Aided by the navigator and flight engineer, P/O Gates tackled the fire with extinguishers and got it under control. He then gave his attention to the rear gunner who, seriously wounded in the leg, had been extricated from his turret by the mid-upper gunner. Working in the dark by the aid of a torch, P/O Gates efficiently rendered first aid applying tourniquet and administrating morphine.

This gallant crew in spite of a failing starboard outer engine and many other defects including neither inter-com nor oxygen, decided to set course for home. One hour and a half afterwards, P/O Gates who had been giving constant attention to the wounded rear-gunner, re-established inter-com in the forward part of the aircraft by shorting the rear section of wiring. He then went to the Astro-dome to keep a lookout for fighters and to warn the pilot to take evasive action if necessary, as both gunners were wounded.

On leaving the French coast, he returned to his set and sent out a distress signal and, by obtaining a number of Q.D.M.s rapidly, the pilot was able to locate Tangmere and land.

Under a calm and quiet manner, this officer not only displayed his efficiency as wireless operator but also his exceptional ability to take instant decisions in an emergency. His sustained courage and initiative is a splendid example to the entire squadron.

(Signed by Wing Commander, Commanding, No. 101 Squadron, R.A.F. on 16.2.43)


Throughout this seeming calamity to the aircraft in which he was a member of a gallant crew, P/O Gates displayed commendable courage, determination and unselfish consideration for others, worthy of the highest praise. In attacking at once the flames which had taken firm hold within the fuselage, he displayed not only an ability to make instant decisions and a complete disregard of imminent danger from exploding ammunition and flares housed within the aircraft, but also a spirit of grim determination to ensure that no efforts of his should be spared to save his comrades and aircraft from complete destruction.

His task successfully accomplished, he ministered, solely by the aid of a torch, to the wounded rear gunner throughout the return flight displaying both skill and care of a very high order. His frequent visits throughout the flight down the fuselage, to the rear gunner necessitated clambering over a large hole burnt in the flooring and, in the darkness prevailing, he ran very grave risk of falling through this hole.

His technical aptitude and efficiency in repairing the intercommunication between pilot and navigator coupled with his calm and efficient operation of aircraft, is worthy of high commendation and his courage ... [document mutilated and further text missing].