Gifford, Patrick

    Date of birth:
    January 31st, 1910 (Castle Douglas/Dumfries and Galloway, Great Britain)
    Date of death:
    May 16th, 1940 (Somewhere in Flanders, Belgium)
    Nationality:
    British (1801-present, Kingdom)

    Biography

    Service number 90188.

    Patrick Gifford was educated at Melrose, Sedburgh and Edinburgh University where he studdies law. He became a qualified solicitor, working with the family firm, Procurator Fiscal, Depute Clerk of the Peace, Secretary of the local National Farmers Union and member of the town council. He was also an all round sportsman involved in tennis, cricket and rugby also an excellent skier and rifle shot and he was well known for driving high speed sports cars between Castle Douglas and Edinburgh. He joined 603 (City of Edinburgh) Squadron Auxiliary Air Force based at RAF Turnhouse, now Edinburgh Airport, where he gained his wings in 1932.
    He was credited with shooting down the first German plane over Britain on 16th October 1939 while flying his Mark 1 Spitfire from RAF Turnhouse and was awarded the DFC for this and a later combat. He was shot down and killed (although his body was not recovered) on 16th May 1940 over Flanders in his Hurricane.
    On May 16th, 2010, 70 years after he was killed in action, a memorial was unveiled in Castle Douglas in honour of Patrick Gifford for becoming the first pilot to successfully target an enemy bomber in British airspace in the Second World War. His logbook is on display in the Scottish United Services Museum in Edinburgh.

    Promotions:
    June 30th, 1931: Pilot Officer
    December 30th, 1932: Flying Officer
    April 1st, 1938: Flight Lieutenant
    January 1st, 1940: Squadron Leader

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    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Flight Lieutenant
    Awarded on:
    November 29th, 1939
    Action:
    Citation:
    "During October, 1939, this officer, leading a section of his squadron, sighted an enemy bomber over the mainland heading towards the sea at high speed. Flight Lieutenant Gifford led the attack with skill, daring and determination, and as the result of a final burst of firing from his own guns the enemy aircraft crashed into the sea. Later in October, 1939, this officer's section intercepted a bomber apparently engaged in
    reconnoitring a British convoy. The enemy aircraft attempted to take cover in the clouds but Flight Lieutenant Gifford led his section after it, firing short bursts as opportunity offered. The pursuit continued some eleven miles out to sea where the raider, showing signs of having been hit, turned and crashed into the sea."
    Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)

    Sources