‘True gentleman' Gordon Mansbridge, 90, dies before getting medal for war service

Harrow Times: Picture courtesy of The Daily Express: Gordon Mansbridge, 90, flew 33 Wellington bomber missions in the Second World War Picture courtesy of The Daily Express: Gordon Mansbridge, 90, flew 33 Wellington bomber missions in the Second World War

A former RAF navigator who flew bomber missions in the Second World War but never received a medal has passed away.

Last month, the Harrow Times reported on a campaign by the family of Gordon Mansbridge, 90, from Rayners Lane, to get him a medal in recognition of the 33 Wellington bomber missions he flew from Italy during the war.

Unlike airmen from Bomber command, Mr Mansbridge did not receive a medal last year as he was part of the Central Mediterranean Forces, which carried out raids against German forces from bases in Italy and North Africa.

In January this year Mr Mansbridge was diagnosed with terminal cancer and his family hoped to find out if he would receive a service clasp soon, but he died on April 9.

Since the Harrow Times reported on the situation Mr Mansbridge’s family have been told by the Government it did not know when the review would be completed.

His son Adrian, 57, said: “We are all just very frustrated at the whole process and how long it has taken.

“For me this is not the end of this fight. I will continue to campaign on this and because there will be other men and families in a similar situation who will want some recognition.

“They were doing the same job as other men who received medals and they should be recognised as well. They are all getting older and time is running out.”

Speaking about his father he said: “He was a son, father and grandfather and he was a wonderful man. Everyone I have spoken to agrees with me and have said he was a true gentleman.”

The Government is currently undertaking a review of medals for servicemen and women led by former diplomat Sir John Holmes.

Mr Mansbridge flew from allied controlled southern Italy from September 1943 until June 13, 1944.

His final mission was to bomb Munich railway station, but the crew was forced to turn back after the aircraft lost an engine.

The pilot managed to fly the bomber back to Northern Italy with one engine, but it crashed.

The pilot was killed but the rest of the crew managed to bail out and Mr Mansbridge evaded capture in German occupied Italy for nine months.

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