Gilbert Insall

Lt Gilbert Insall VC MC RFC 

Lt Gilbert Insall VC MC RFC

Aged just 21 when he won his Victoria Cross in the skies over France, 2nd Lt Gilbert Insall was a member of 11 Sqn RFC in 1915.

His citation in the London Gazette read: "For most conspicuous bravery, skill and determination, on 7th November 1915, in France. He was patrolling in a Vickers Fighting Machine with First Class Air mechanic TH Donald as gunner when a German machine was sighted, pursued and attacked near Achiet.

The German pilot led the Vickers machine over a rocket battery but with great skill Lt Insall dived and got to close range, when Donald fired a drum of cartridges into the German machine stopping it's engine. The German pilot then dived through a cloud followed by Lt Insall.

Fire was again opened and the German machine was brought down heavily into a ploughed field 4 miles south east of Arras.

On seeing the Germans scramble out of their machine and prepare to fire Lt Insall dived to 500 feet thus enabling Donald to open heavy fire on them. The Germans then fled, one helping the other who was apparently wounded. Other Germans then commenced heavy fire but in spite of this Lt Insall turned again and an incendiary bomb was then dropped on the German machine which was last seen wreathed in smoke. Lt Insall then headed west in order to get back over the German trenches but as he was only at 2000 feet altitude he dived across them for greater speed. Donald firing into the trenches as he passed over.

The German fire however damaged the petrol tank and with great coolness Lt Insall landed under cover of a wood 500 yards inside our lines. The Germans fired 150 shells at our machine on the ground but without causing material damage. Much damage however had been caused by rifle fire but during the night it was repaired behind screened lights and at dawn Lt Insall flew his machine back with First Class Air Mechanic  donald as passenger.

He served until 1945 reaching the rank of Group Captain and had a Military Cross in 1918 to add to his VC. He died in 1972, his stone is at Nocton Churchyard in Lincs. His medals are n the RAF museum at Hendon.