P/O Keith Gillman

Pilot Officer Keith Reginald Gillman (no. 42053.) is shot down off Dover.

Taken in July this photo of Keith Gillman posthumously becomes the iconic image of a Battle of Britain pilot.

Cover of the Picture Post featuring Keith Gillman

His casualty file (AIR/81/2775) contains the following documents:

GILLMAN
KEITH REGINALD

DoB: 16.12.1920
Rank & Number: P/O 42053
Unit: 32 Sq
Place of Birth: Dover
Date of Casulaty: 25.8
Type of comission: S.S.C.
Name and address of wife: None
Particulars of next of kin: (Father)
R.G. GILLMAN "KURNA"
South Road, River, Dover
any other persons: None.

Telegram

Biggin Admin
AM WH1

NR3 Immediate Secret Not WT

A.M. (C.I.Accs) and P.4.
Cas repeated H.Q.F.C. 11 Group 43 Group

From. 32 Squadron

Received A.M.C.S. 2255 Hrs

A.362 25/8. F.B

(A) Hurricane P.2755
(B) 32 Squadron
(C) Last seen three miles south of Dover 1850 hours 25.8.40.
(D) 42053 P/O Gillman K.R. missing
(E) N/A
(F) N/A
(G) enemy action
(H) Cat three
(J) N/A

Time of Origin: 2200 Hours 25.8.40.

CRASH CIRCULATION
Advance copy sent to:
P.S.Parlay U.S. of S.
P.4. (Cas)
D.R.M. (Millbank)

ELH BBB

R...2240....R.A.....K+

P.354178/40/P.4.Casualties.

26 August, 1940.

Sir,

I am commanded by the Air Council to confirm the telegram in which you were notified that your son, Pilot Officer Kieth Reginald Gillman, Royal Air Force, is missing as the result of air operations on 25th August, 1940. As soon as any definite news is received, you will be immediately informed.
In the event of any information regarding your son being received by you from any source it would be appreciated if you would kindly communicate it immediately to the Air Ministry.
The Air Council desire me to express their sincere sympathy with you in your present anxiety.

I am, Sir,
Your obedient Servant,

Sd. Charles Every[?]

R.G. Gillman, Esq.,
Kurna,
South Road,
River,
DOVER.

(Dept.Q.J.)

25 October, 1940.
P.354178/40/P.4.Cas.

Sir,

I am directed to refer to a letter from this Department dated 26th August 1940, and to inform you that it is regretted that no further news has been recieved of your son, Pilot Officer Keith Reginald Gillman, since he was reported missing on the 25th August 1940.
The aircraft was engaged on an operational flight, and was last seen three miles south of Dover, at approximately 7 p.m. on the 28th August. Nothing further has been heard of your son or his aircraft, and it is feared that it may have been forced down into the sea.
I am to add an expression of the Department's sincere sympathy with you in your great anxiety and to assure you that should any further news be received it will be immediately communicated to you.

I am, Sir,
Your obedient Servant,

C.G CATLEY

for Director of Personal Services.

Gillman, Esq.
Kurna,
South Road River,
Dover

32S/313/37/P.1.

No. 32 Squadron.
ROYAL AIR FORCE,
Acklington,
Northumberland.
9th. November, 1940.


FLYING BATTLE CASUALTY - HURRICANE P.2755
Pilot: Pilot Officer Gillman.

Sir,

I have the honour to refer to your letter 40/P.4. Cas. dated 7th November, 1940 and this Unit's signal A.362 dated 25th. August 1940. Pilot Officer Gillman failed to return from a battle over Dover at 1850 hours on 25th. August, 1940. He was last seen three miles South of Dover. It is thought that he was following an enemy aircraft out to sea.

I have the honour to be,
Sir,
Your obedient servant.
???? P/O
For Squadron Leader,
Commanding,
No. 32 Squadron.


The Under Secretary of State,
Dept. Q.J. Air Ministry,
Kingsway, LONDON.W.C.2.

To: P4 Cas
With - Enclosures
Received AM
13NOV1940
File No. P354178/40
To: You On: 26.8

415072

(Dept.Q.J)

9 January 1941

P.354178/40/P.4.Cas.

Sir,

With reference to the letter from this department dated 25th October, 1940, I am directed to inform you with deep regret that all efforts to trace your son, Pilot Officer K.R. Gillman, have proved unavailing.

Although formal action to presume death for official purposes will not be taken until a further period has elapsed, it is feared that all hope of finding him alive must be abandoned.

I am, Sir,
Your obedient Servant,
W.Shepherd
for Director of Personal Services.

R.G. Gillman, Esq.,
Kurna,
South Road,
River,
Dover.

(Dept.Q.J)

21 February 1941

P.354178/40/P.4.Cas.

Sir,

With reference to the letter from this department dated the 9th January, 1941, I am directed to inform you that in view of the lapse of time and the absence of any news concerning your son Pilot Office K.R. Gillman, since he was reported missing, it is now proposed to take action to presume his death for official purposes.

I am accordingly to ask that you will be good enough to formally confirm that you have received no further evidence or news regarding him.

I am, Sir,
Your obedient Servant,
R ? Bradbury[?]
for Director of Personal Services.

R.G. Gillman, Esq.,
Kurna,
South Road,
River,
Dover.

No. 32 Squadron,
Royal Air Force,
Ibsley,
Nr. Ringwood, Hants.

32S/313/37/P.1.

24th February, 1941.

P/O. K.R. GILLMAN.

Sir,

I have the honour to refer to your letter P.354178/40/P.4.Cas. dated 18th February, 1941. No further news or evidence regarding the above-named Officer has been received by this Unit.

I have the honour to be,
Sir,
Your obedient servant.
???? F/O
For Squadron Leader,
Commanding,
No. 32 Squadron.

The Under Secretary of State,
Air Ministry,
London. W.C.2.

To: P4 Cas
With - Enclosures
Received PM
13NOV1940
File No. P354178/40
To: On:

"Kurna",
South Road
River
Dover
28.9.47.

Dear Sir,

I have to-day read in the Press of the unidentified man who is suffering from loss of memory at Sainté Foy La Guarde Hospital near Bordeaux, and who has been given the name of of Joachim Charles by the French authorities.

I realise that this case must have already occupied much of your time, and that since the illusion which has been made to it in the Press to-day you will probably have more correspondence on the subject, but I feel that I must make a few enquiries and hope you will understand that under the circumstances I should have no peace of mind if I did not do so. My son - Pilot Officer Keith Reginald Gillman (no. 42053.) became missing from operational duties on 25.8.40 when serving with number 32 Squadron at Biggin Hill. There has never been any evidence of his death, although this was of course presumed by the air Ministry in due course. He was last seen flying a few miles off Dover on his way to France, and it was supposed that he was shot down into the sea, but there has never been any evidence to support this theory.

I have not seen a photo of the man who is at Sainté Foy La Guarde Hospital, nor do I have his description or approximate age, but if there is even the shadow of a hope that this could be my son, I should be very grateful if you would give me further particulars. My son was 19 years of age at the time he became messing and would therefore now be twenty six years old - he was about five feet eleven inches tall, and had light brown hair and very blue eyes. If it is apparent to you from these particulars that this man could not be my son, I hope you will forgive me for wasting your time, and that you will understand the feeling that prompts me to write to you.

Yours faithfully,
R G Gillman

Sloane 3467
xxxxxxxxxxx

xxxxxxxxxxxxx
2, Seville Street
Knightsbridge,
London, S.W.1

P.354178/S14 Cas.B2
21[?] October, 1947.

Sir,

I am directed to refer to your letter dated 28th September, 1947, and to say that it has now been definitely established that the man referred to in recent Press reports as suffering from loss of memory in a French Hospital, was at no time a member of the Royal Air Force.

I am to take this opportunity of reaffirming the Department's sympathy with you in the loss of your son, and the added distress which the absence of news must cause.

I am, Sir,
Your obedient Servant,
A.W.LIVINGSTONE

R.G.Gillman, Esq.,
"Kurna",
South Road,
River,
Dover.

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