Frank Sydney William GUBBINS DFC

GUBBINS, Frank Sydney William

Service Number: 437128
Enlisted: 7 November 1942, Adelaide, South Australia
Last Rank: Flying Officer
Last Unit: No. 460 Squadron (RAAF)
Born: Adelaide, South Australia, 1 October 1924
Home Town: Prospect, Prospect, South Australia
Schooling: Nailsworth Primary School and Adelaide Boys High
Occupation: Junior Telephone mechanic
Died: Natural causes, Adelaide, South Australia, 7 March 2016, aged 91 years
Cemetery: Centennial Park - South Australian Garden of Remembrance
Ashes interred at Centennial Park Cemetery
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World War 2 Service

7 Nov 1942: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Aircraftman 2 (WW2), SN 437128, Aircrew Training Units, Adelaide, South Australia
8 Nov 1942: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Flight Sergeant, Aircrew Training Units, Empire Air Training Scheme
7 Jun 1944: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Flying Officer, SN 437128, No. 460 Squadron (RAAF), Air War NW Europe 1939-45
17 Apr 1945: Honoured Distinguished Flying Cross, Air War NW Europe 1939-45, Pilot Officer Frank Gubbins For flying operations with 460 Squadron (RAAF)
29 Nov 1945: Discharged Royal Australian Air Force, Flying Officer, SN 437128, No. 460 Squadron (RAAF)

Family tributes - The Advertiser 9th March 2016

GUBBINS, Frank Sydney William DFC, Ld'H.01/10/1924 07/03/2016 Passed away peacefully atthe Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Aged 91 years.437128 Flying Officer460 Squadron RAAF (1944-45)Chief Engineer (SA/NT)Telecom Australiaon retirement in 1983.
Beloved wife of Betty (deceased). Cherished wife of Dawn (O'Toole).
Loving father and father-in-law of Anne and Tony, Richard and Barbara, and Bill (deceased). Loved grandfather of Carlos and Jess, Ben, Prue and Andrew.
Loved great-grandfather of Sienna, Layla and Logan. Loved stepfather of Darryl and Sue, and Barry.
Loving step grandfather of Jai and Briony, Kane and Lauren, April and Nic, Alice, and Josh.
Loving great-step grandfather of Keeley, Khoen, Finn, Xaevier, Ellie and Mhaiya.
Much loved Uncle of Margaret, Trevor, Pam, Kevin and Doug.
Special thanks to Dr Sutherland, Dr Parnis, Dr Hunt, Dr Martin Bird and the Nurses and Staff of the QEH Palliative Care Unit.
"Lest We Forget"My Dear Frank, Thank you for the years we shared, the love you gave, the way you cared. In my heart you'll always stay, loved and remembered every day. All my love, Dawn.
Much loved Father, Grandfather and Great-Grandfather. A long life well lived. Will be sadly missed and lovingly remembered by Anne, Tony, Carlos, Jessica, Sienna and Layla.
Thanks Dadfor all you have done for us. Reunited with Mum and Bill. Dear Pop, You will be sadly missed, but you are at peace now. Determined, Courageous, Proud, Strong and Intelligent. Thank you for everything. Love, your Grandson Ben.
Our beloved Poppa, Such a strong and inspirational man, we will forever be grateful of your influence on our lives. Your wisdom, courage and knowledge will be deeply missed, but your beautiful memory will live on forever. We will cherish those special moments with you and take comfort that you are no longer in pain. Prue, Andrew and Logan.
Dearest Frank, No longer in our lives to share, but in our hearts you'll always be there. Love always. Darryl, Sue And Families xx
Dear Frank, A generous, wonderful man. Wonderful memories. Love, Barry, Alie, Josh, Keeley, Sam. Fly high in your plane Uncle Frank, I will look out for you. Love Khoen.
Dear Uncle Frank, I will always remember you when I feed the ducks at the duck pond. Lots of love, Your little mate Finn xx
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Frank Gubbins, DFC, Pilot Officer 460 Squadron RAAF

(this extract from the Obuituary published in the Adelaide Advertiser, 21 May 2016)

Born to Herbert and Myrtle in Maylands, a suburb of Adelaide, on 1 October 1924, Frank Gubbins grew up in Norwood and Prospect, attending Nailsworth Primary and later gaining a bursary to Adelaide Boys High School. With his family living in poverty,  he left school to train as a junior telephone mechanic with the Postmaster General's Department.  

War had broken out at which time Frank was not yet 15.  As soon as he turned 18 in 1942, he enlisted in the RAAF.  He trained as a navigator bomb-aimer and after elementary training, he went to the United Kingdom via New York where he spent Christmas 1943.  In the UK he completed training and 'crewed up' with a mainly Australian crew and proceeded through the final stages of training.  At one point their Wellington aircraft crashed after a brake failure on landing.

They were assigned to 460 Squadron, flying Lancaster heavy bomberrs, in June 1944.  Their primary aircraft was J for Jig.  The crew comprised Bill Olley the pilot from Quirindi NSW, F/Lt Fred Maynard, the Navigator; F/Sgt Allan Hogan, the Wireless Operator; F/Sgt Frank Gubbins, the Bomb Aimer; F/Sgt Vic Porrill, Rear Gunner; F/Sgt Mac Mckane, Mid-Upper Gunner (all RAAF); and the only 'foreigner' F/Sgt Ronnie Sharpe, the Flight Engineer from Swallow, Hertfordshire.

They went on to fly 30 missions; a raid on Cologne in October 1944 resulted in heavy flak damage and Frank's bomb aimers cupola at the bottom of the nose of the aircraft was samshed and Frank's head grazed.  In November, they had a very near mioss when an engine failed on take off with a full fuel and bomb load.  There was no 'drill' for this occurrence, as no one had successfully landed a Lancaster in this condition. Bill Olley managed to ease the aircraft to sufficient height to complete a half-circuit before landing much to the relief of everyone.  They leapt out of J for Jig and into H for Harry and flew the mission.  Both Bill Olley and Frank Gubbins were awarded the DFC, and Bill Olley earned a coveted 'Green Entry' in his log book for exceptional courage and devotion duty in saving the aircraft and the crew with excpetional flying skills.

Frank later  said it was only in his later years that that he learned of the horrific loss rate of Bomber Command crews. 

After their tour was complete and some leave, they were not re-rostered as the war was almost at an end.

After returning to Australia, he rejoined the PMGand completed his engineering degree in telecommunications in time to play a leadingrole in the rapid expanision of telephone services throughout the nation.  He eventually became Chief Engineer of SA / NT with a staff of 2,400.  He also provided telecommunications and remote monitoring for the Woomera and Maralinga weapon ranges.

Under the Colombo Plan he spent four years in Sumatra 1972-76 establishing telecommunications.

Frank was a talented sportsman playing A Grade football for Walkerville when he met his future wife Betty.  They wed in 1950, the start of a 55 year union. They had three children,  Anne Richard and Bill.  Tragically Bill died at age 31.  Betty passed away in 2005, aged 80.  In 2011, Frank married Dawn O'Toole and the two travelled the world.

In the 1970s' like many of their colleagues, the J for Jog crew began to search each other out and held a reunion.  Over the following years one by one, the men began to pass away.  When he was the only one left, Frank who had never taken part in an Anzac Day Parade decided he should march to honour the memory of his colleagues.  Frank like the surviving personnel who had fought in and overr France in WW2, was awarded the Legion d'Honeur in 2014.

Retired in 1983 as Chief Engineer of SA/NT Telecom Australia