David Gibbs was born in Sparkbrook, Birmingham in 1898. He was the youngest of 8 children born to Albert Pettman Gibbs (b 1856 in Woolwich, Kent), a pastrycook employed by the LNWR, and Emma Gibbs, née Malone (b 1856 in the City of London). David was educated at Newbold School and the Lower School, Rugby.
David was employed at the United Counties Bank in Coventry when he decided to enlist in the 5th Buffs in 1916. About December 1917 he was transferred as a cadet with service number 242005, to the 38th Squadron of the Royal Air Force where he received instruction as a pilot. Whilst completing a solo flight on 5th August 1918 in Yorkshire he crash landed and died of his injuries on 8th August.
The accident was reported in the Rugby Advertiser of 17th August 1918:
FATAL ACCIDENT TO FLIGHT CADET GIBBS.
While flying from a Yorkshire aerodrome on August Bank Holiday, Flight Cadet David Gibbs, youngest son of Mr & Mrs A B Gibbs, of 14 Kimberley Road, Rugby, lost his bearings, and attempted to land at Whitley Bridge. An eye-witness states that Cadet Gibbs, who was a competent pilot, planed down from a considerable height, but when near the ground he apparently decided to change his landing place, and the attempt to alter the direction caused the machine to nose dive and crash to earth. The unfortunate young man received terrible injuries, from which he died on Thursday last week without recovering consciousness.
At the inquest at Doncaster on Friday a verdict of “Accidental death” was returned.
Cadet Gibbs, who was only 20 years of age, was educated at Newbold School, and the Lower School, Rugby. When he enlisted as a private in the 5th Buffs a little over two years ago he was employed in the United Counties Bank at Coventry. About eight months ago he was transferred as a cadet to the Royal Air Force, and he had practically finished his course of instruction when the accident happened, and his parents were looking forward to welcoming him home this week. He was a talented violinist, and he frequently played at concerts given in the town.
He was buried in Clifton Road Cemetery, Rugby, in a grave which is the responsibility of the CWGC. He is also remembered on the Lawrence Sheriff School Memorial Plaque.
He was survived by his parents, who were then residing at 14 Kimberley Road, Rugby, and six of his siblings.
RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM