Personal info

  • Name: Ivor John GILLET
  • D.O.B: 16th Sep, 1928
  • D.O.A: 26th Mar, 1950
  • D.O.D: 26th Mar, 1950
  • Award: George Cross
  • Occupation at time of action: Aircraftman 1st Class, Royal Air Force
  • Book: The Complete History - Volume 3
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Sources & Acknowledgements

Far East Flying Boat Wing, RAF Seletar, Singapore 26 March 1950

26 March 1950

Seletar is on the north-east coast of Singapore Island. The RAF operated there between 1928 and 1971. On 26 March 1950 a flying boat blew up at the base.


 Aircraftman Gillett, a Fitter Armourer, was a member of the ground crew on board a Sunderland Flying Boat which blew up at its moorings at R.A.F. Boat Base, Seletar, on 26th March, 1950. Rescue surface craft were quickly on the scene but the aircraft and a bomb-scow alongside sank rapidly and survivors from the explosion were hurled into the water. A life-belt was thrown to Aircraftman Gillett from a rescue launch. He was seen, however, to throw the life-belt to a seriously injured corporal who was in danger of drowning near him. In the confusion the rescuers had not been able to reach the corporal. Gillett was a great friend of his and knew he was not a strong swimmer. The life-belt kept the corporal afloat until he was rescued unconscious from the water several minutes later. In the meantime Aircraftman Gillett disappeared; his body was washed ashore two days later. It was discovered that his body had suffered superficial injuries and that death was due to the combined effects of blast and drowning. By his action in deliberately saving the life of his injured friend, whilst injured and in great danger himself, Aircraftman Gillett displayed magnificent courage. His extreme unselfishness in his last living moments, which resulted in the sacrifice of his life to save another, was seen in this act of great heroism which was in accordance with the highest traditions of the Royal Air Force. 

The London Gazette of 3 October 1950, Numb. 39033, p. 4919

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