GILBERT, Leslie Reginald Clark, Flight Sergeant (526164, Royal Air Force) - No.76 Squadron - Distinguished Flying Medal - awarded as per London Gazette dated 30 January 1942. Public Record Office Air 2/9578 has citation drafted when he had flown 96 sorties (450 operational hours).
This airman has been employed as an air gunner on operations against the enemy since the beginning of the war and has carried out many sorties against enemy and enemy occupied territory. On several occasions he has encountered enemy night fighters and, one night in October 1940, he was wounded during an encounter with five Messerschmitt 109s. Flight Sergeant Gilbert has also proved invaluable in assisting in the training of air gunners, a duty in which he has displayed keenness and discretion. He has set a fine example to all by his gallantry and devotion to duty.
Spink auction catalogue has the following recommendation, dated 21 November 1941:
Flight Sergeant Gilbert who has been engaged in active operations since the commencement of hostilities was posted to this unit from No. 233 Squadron, Coastal Command, with whom he had completed over 90 operational sorties, many of them under fire from the enemy defences. In addition, he has had several engagements with enemy fighters and in his last operational sortie with No. 233 Squadron on 29h October, 1940, he was wounded during a battle with five M. 109s.
Before his recovery, he was posted to this squadron and has completed six successful operational sorties during which he has engaged enemy night-fighters. This N.C.O. has displayed an extraordinarily keen sense of duty in every activity that he undertakes. He has proved invaluable in assisting in the training of Air Gunners. In addition, he was detailed to be N.C.O. in charge of Dinsdale Hall in which establishment over 100 aircrew are billeted. He discharged this duty with great keenness and discretion, the work involved being hard and calling for unusual diplomacy. Flight Sergeant Gilbert has inspired confidence both in his superiors and in those who come under him and by his devotion to duty and gallantry in operations against the enemy, it is recommended that he be awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal.
Remarks by Station Commander: “Flight Sergeant Gilbert has carried out many sorties by day and night and has had several engagements with enemy fighters. He has set a fine example to all by his devotion to duty over a long period of operations. Strongly recommended”.
Squadron Leader Leslie Reginald Clark Gilbert, DFM., born Whitchurch, Hampshire, 1915; joined the Royal Air Force 1935, he became a flight mechanic and trained as an Air Gunner; at the outbreak of the Second World War, he served with 233 Squadron (Hudson’s), Leuchers, Scotland, and flew in over 90 operational sorties with the squadron mainly over the Norwegian Coast after the country’s occupation by Germany; transferred to 76 Squadron (Halifax’s), Middleton St. George, November 1941; commissioned Pilot Officer 31.12.1941; retired Squadron Leader 13.9.1962.