Gibo’s Shoe

John ‘Gibo’ Gibson

Colour Photograph by Daniel Rarity

501 Squadron that appear within pic and including George Stoney who was shot down and killed three days later. It was taken during the late afternoon of the 15th August 1940 at ‘B’ Flight dispersal at RAF Hawkinge. The back story of the photograph is that John ‘Gibo’ Gibson had just arrived back at the airfield having been shot down from return fire from a Junkers Ju 87B (that itself crashed into 78, 80 and 82 Shorncliffe Crescent, Folkestone). ‘Gibo’s’ aircraft was set on fire and he was heading for a built up area of Folkestone.

The only problem was he had recently bought a new pair of shoes and knew if he baled out he would no doubt lose them. Steering his burning aircraft away from Folkestone, ‘Gibo’ took off his shoes, tied them together, slipped a Officers Card, with his name on, into one of the shoes. He throw his shoes out before baling out safely. His Hurricane smashing to earth at Alkham. On ‘Gibo’s’ return to RAF Hawkinge he was promptly reunited with his shoes that had been already found by a witness of the action. The photograph shows Kenneth ‘Hawkeye’ Lee taking the ‘p’ out of ‘Gibo’ for risking his life to save his shoes.

Hawkeye is seen pointing to his shoes in this photograph.