Personnel Index - Detail

First Names
Phillip Henry
Service Number
Crew Position
Wireless Operator/Air Gunner
Posting In
Posted in 8/41 and out 8/42


Known as "Tubby".

Flew 23 Hampden operations mostly as a wireless operator or air gunner with pilot, Sgt Terry Freeman.

From L-R:
Ken Bush, Terry Freeman and "Tubby" Gaunt with Hampden AE132

Hampden AE132 was lost on the 12th February 1942.

Following his tour with 49Sqn Philip Gaunt retrained as a pilot at 26 AS (Air School) at Pietersberg, South Africa.

On the 28th April 1944 "Tubby" was awarded his wings and the "Best of Intake" bombing trophy.

The 'Passing-out Parade' at the Pietersburg Air School in South Africa

He then joined 37Sqn as a Wellington pilot and was based at Tortorella (ENE of Foggia). They were 'tenants' of the USAAF 99th Bombardment Group.

The poor conditions at Tortorella which was a temporary airfield

Phillip completed at least 13 operations with 37Sqn who were attacking targets in Italy, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Albania, as well as dropping supplies to the Yugoslav partisans.

His final operation.......obviously completed on his return to the UK.

On the 8th January 1945 whilst returning from an aborted operation, his Wellington encountered heavy icing crossing the mountains. He lost height and was forced to crash-land near Gorski Kotar in the former Yugoslavia (now Croatia).

Images taken by Edi Šelhaus on the 14th January 1945.

The location of the crash-site taken in 2001

Over a period of four weeks the crew were cared for by partisans and, stage by stage, moved to the coast to be repatriated to the UK onboard a British warship.

Repatriation paperwork dated February 1945

The three brothers went to war...........Maurice, Arthur & Phillip............and three returned...........Arthur, Phillip & Maurice (with unknown LHS)

Phillip Gaunt was discharged from the RAF on the 16th January 1946.

"Posted out" 1976.

All images are courtesy of Paul Gaunt....Tubby's son.