Gerald Edward "Jerry" Geeves

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Gerald Geeves

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GEEVES, F/O Gerald Edward (J19058) - Distinguished Flying Cross - No.405 Squadron
Award effective 5 February 1945 as per London Gazette dated 16 February 1945 &
AFRO 563/45 dated 29 March 1945.

No citation other than "completed...numerous operations against the enemy in the course of which [he has] invariably displayed the utmost fortitude, courage and devotion to duty." (see below)


Born in Montreal, 11 March 1910
Attended St. Michael's Academy, Commercial High school
& the Technical High School
Employed as a salesman.
Enlisted in Montreal, 14 October 1940
To No.1 Manning Depot, 15 January 1941
To No.1 Equipment Depot, 16 January 1941
To No.1 WS, 30 March 1941
Promoted LAC on 1 May 1941
to "E” on 15 September 1941
to No.2 BGS, 11 October 1941
(graduated and promoted Sergeant on 24 November 1941)
To “Y” Depot, 25 November 1941
To RAF overseas, 12 December 1941
Taken on strength of No.3 PRC, Bournemouth, 26 December 1941
To No.1 Air Armament School, 7 March 1942
To No.7 Air Gunner School, 29 April 1942
To No.15 OTU, 19 May 1942
To Middle East Command, 24 August 1942
Promoted Flight Sergeant, 1 September 1942
Taken on strength of No.108 Squadron, 19 September 1942
Promoted WO2, 24 November 1943
To No.148 Squadron, 26 November 1942
To No.40 Squadron, 7 December 1942
To No.104 Squadron, 1 January 1943
Embarked from Malta, 26 February 1943
(passing through Gibraltar on 7 March 1943)
At No.1 Personnel Despatch Centre, 28 February 1943
To Station Pershore, 30 March 1943
Attached to No.10 OTU, Abington, 1-10 May 1943
To No.23 OTU, 7 October 1943 when commissioned
To Overseas Headquarters, 11 March 1944
Arrived back in Canada, 16 March 1944
Promoted Flying Officer, 7 April 1944
Embarked again for Britain, 29 April 1944
Disembarked in United Kingdom, 7 May 1944
To No.61 Base, 25 May 1944
Attended Dalton Battle School, 25 May to 11 June 1944
To No.405 Squadron, 11 June 1944
(attending Night Training Unit, 11 June to 6 July before)
Return to No.405 Squadron
Killed in Action, 2 January 1945
(Lancaster PB477, No.405 Squadron)


Public Records Office Air 2/8831 has recommendation dated 20 November 1944 when he had flown 48 sorties (220 hours 52 minutes) in two tours.

First Tour

24 August 1942 - Ferry to Gibraltar (8.00)
25 August 1942 - Gibraltar to Malta (8.45)
26 August 1942 - Malta-Egypt (7.45)
  8 October 1942 - Tobruk (7.30)
14 October 1942 - Tobruk (6.10)
23 October 1942 - Battle area (2.30)
24 October 1942 - Battle area (2.30)
29 October 1942 - Battle area (2.30)
30 October 1942 - Battle area (2.30)
  2 November 1942 - Ghazal (3.00)
  4 November 1942 - Daba (3.45)
  5 November 1942 - Messa Fuka Row (3.35)
  6 November 1942 - Messa Fuka Row (3.45)
  7 November 1942 - Sollum (6.30)
  9 November 1942 - Fort Capuzzo (6.05)
11 November 1942 - Derna (8.55)
23 November 1942 - Haraklion Aerodrome (6.40)
  7 December 1942 - LG.17 to Malta (6.00)
13 December 1942 - La Goulette, Tunis (4.34)
15 December 1942 - Tunis Harbour (4.35)
16 December 1942 - La Goulette, Tunis (4.35)
18 December 1942 - Comico Aerodrome, Sicily (2.40)
25 December 1942 - Pantelero Aerodrome (6.35)
28 February 1943 - Malta-Gibralter (7.30)

Second Tour

10 July 1944 - Nucourt (2.45)
12 July 1944 - Paris/Vaires (3.08)
15 July 1944 - Nucourt (3.30)
17 July 1944 - Cagny (2.30)
28 July 1944 - Stuttgart (6.17)
30 July 1944 - Battle area (2.34)
  3 August 1944 - Nieppe (2.03)
  4 August 1944 - L'isle Adam (2.44)
14 August 1944 - TRACTABLE (2.41)
15 August 1944 - Meisbroek (4.15)
16 August 1944 - Stettin (4.57)
18 August 1944 - Sterkrade (3.34)
25 August 1944 - Russelsheim (5.42)
26 August 1944 - Kiel (5.24)
29 August 1944 - Stettin (8.32)
15 September 1944 - Kiel (5.23)

30 September 1944 - Bottrop (3.23)
11 October 1944 - Fort Fredrik Hendrik (2.09)
14 October 1944 - Duisburg (3.55)
15 October 1944 - Wilhelmshaven (4.06)
19 October 1944 - Stuttgart (5.09)
25 October 1944 - Homburg (3.40)
28 October 1944 - Walcheren
16 November 1944 - Julich

Flying Officer Geeves is an outstanding Air Gunner in a highly successful crew now on their second tour of operations. He has participated in attacks on such heavily defended enemy areas as Stuttgart, Kiel and Stettin. Invariably, this officer has displayed a keen sense of responsibility and great courage in the performance of all his operational tasks. On many occasions he has been placed in a position where great personal danger existed, but this has not deterred him from carrying out his duties in a cool and efficient manner. His fine example of fearlessness and devotion to duty is very commendable.

The website “Lost Bombers” provides information on his final sortie. Lancaster PB477, No.405 Squadron (LQ-B), target Nuremberg, 2/3 January 1945. This aircraft was delivered to No.635 Squadron, August 1944 and transferred to No.405 Squadron, 8 September 1944. Previously engaged in the following raids: Frankfurt (12/13 September 1944), Duisburg (14 October 1944, daylight, Essen (23/24 October 1944). Airborne at 1554 hours, 2 January 1945 from Gransden Lodge. Crashed at Rohrau, 3 km ENE from the small town of Nufringen. Crew consisted of W/C .J. Lawson, DSO, DFC (killed; he had participated in at least 92 operational sorties), Sergeant S. Rhodes (POW), P/O S.H. Fitzhenry (RAAF, killed), S/L N. Crawford, DFC (RCAF, killed), F/L E.C. Duke, DFM (killed), F/O G.E. Geeves, DFC (RCAF, killed), Warrant Officer D.G. Plyley (RCAF, POW).

Notes: Application for Operational Wing dated 31 December 1943 stated he had been on operations, 4 September 1942 to 7 January 1943 and had flown 24 sorties (140 hours).

Assessed at No.23 OTU on 27 February 1944 where he was an instructor. Reported to have flown 353 hours (67 hours ten minutes in previous six months). "Keen, capable air gunner who is fit to hold any responsible job." (S/L C.P. Potter).

While on leave in Canada he was featured in an article entitled "Thoughts in a Dinghy" which appeared in the April 15th edition of the Montreal Standard. According to that paper, he had completed 27 operational flights and wore the African Star with Clasp. He had taken part in most of the Mediterranean's "big shows". From his W.A.G.'s seat he saw action at Crete, El Alamein, Tobruk, Tunis and Sicily.

He had previously escaped death or injury in five crashes on widely-separated R.C.A.F. battlefronts. In the fourth crash, his six fellow crew members were killed while he was thrown clear to escape with minor injuries. This incident does not appear in his service records. The fifth crash occurred on Christmas night, 1943 [probably 1942 if we go by the sortie list], in the Mediterranean after his bomber overshot Malta while returning from a raid in a heavy storm. That time he was rescued along with his new crew mates after seven and a half seasick hours in a pitching dinghy. He is quoted in the April 15th article as saying, "I never thought so much about home and my folks as I did that Christmas night - my experience told me we had little chance of getting through a fix like this out in the Mediterranean no man's land and felt honestly sorry for the grief the 'missing' telegram would cause at home. I was glad that I had stayed at church for a second Mass that morning. It sort of gave me a feeling of confidence inside".

Notes: In crew of Wellington HD980, No.108 Squadron, which crashed at Landing Ground 237, 6 November 1942. Following an operational sortie and while taxying, pilot switched on landing lights, forgetting or not knowing that they had been patched over with doped fabric. The result was a fire in the wing, causing Category "A" damage. No injuries to crew. Pilot was Sergeant N.S. Toms, RNZAF.

Wellington DV532 of No.40 Squadron ditched at sea, 50 miles from Malta, 26 December 1942. Crew was NZ412247 F/L L. McLachlan (pilot), 118101 P/O J.D. Kitchin (second pilot), 1380906 Sergeant F. Hughes (observer), 935115 Flight Sergeant A. Challand (WOP/AG) and R77168 Sergeant G.E. Geeves. On leaving the target area both intercom and wireless became unserviceable. At ETA 2232 there was no sign of Malta; pilot kept on course for 15 minutes, then flew a reciprocal course and commenced a search. The WOP/AG now reported wireless serviceable again and reported several QDM Loop bearings which may have been erroneous. Flying the last bearing for half an hour, the engines finally cut and pilot ditched. Pilot went on to report:

This operation [ditching] was carried out successfully and all members of the crew were safely in the dinghy within two minutes. The Wireless Operator, Flight Sergeant Challand, received slight facial injuries and was in a somewhat dazed condition. The behaviour of the entire crew in ditching is to be highly commended, there was no panic and everyone remained cool. A Beaufighter was sighted about ten minutes later, flying at about 1,500 feet one mile away. At 0800 hours four Spitfires were sighted, flying fairly low about three miles away. Efforts were made to signal, but the Marine Distress Signal failed to operate. There was no Verey pistol as the Navigation kit bag was swept to the back of the fuselage on ditching. At 0815 a Swordfish of the FAA was sighted. Immediately a Marine Distress Signal was sent off, which the Swordfish sighted. The Swordfish then circled us, dropping smoke floats right around us. At 0823 the Air Sea Rescue Launch was sighted and we were picked up at 0830. Treatment on board the Launch was excellent, we were provided with rum, hot tea and dry clothes. We landed at St.Paul's Bay at 1100 hours. Flight Sergeant Challen (Challand) was taken to the 90th General Hospital and the other members of the crew proceeded to their billets after a meal prepared by the Air Sea Rescue Unit.


Airman Survives Exciting Episodes
P/O G. E. Geeves Member of Late Arrivals Club

30 March 1944 - A member of the Late Arrivals Club, once shot down in the sea and once the sole survivor of an exploded bomber, Pilot Officer G. E. Geeves, brother of Thomas Geeves, 38 Beach boulevard, has arrived back in Canada. He had been overseas since December 1941.
Having served in Egypt, Tunisia and Malta from July 1942, to March 1943, and for the last nine months as instructor at an R.C.A.F. gunnery school in England, he wears the ribbons of the African Star, with clasp, and the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal. He is a member in good standing of the Late Arrivals Club, for which he has qualified more than once. On one occasion his plane was "ditched" in the sea following a raid on Panteleria, where heavy opposition was encountered. There was barely time to get their rubber dinghy out of storage in a wing before the plane sank. They were seen seven and a half hours later and rescue craft were sent out from Malta.
Not so fortunate were members of the crew in one ground crash landing, from which P/O Geeves walked away, the only survivor of six men. Besides what he wore, he rescued only a scorched log book. He called the most spectacular show of all the raid on the power station at Tunis. "That was when the sparks flew," he said. He is a former employee of the Canadian General Electric Company. His parents reside in Montreal.




Thanks to niece Dorothy for the photos & infos !

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