Sergeant Gilbert Noel Duke (1063676) served in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve during World War Two. He was the son of John James Duke and Sarah M Duke of Knocknamuckley, Portadown, Co. Armagh.
Known as “Bertie”, he died on 14th February 1942 aged 25 years old when Vickers Wellington R1027 of RAF No. 12 OTU crashed at RAF Chipping Warden, Northamptonshire.
The Mark 1C bomber was taking off on a training exercise to practice night bombing, photography, and navigation. On returning to the airfield, the Pilot approached at 2335hrs and opened the throttle to circle again. The starboard engine lost power and the tip of the wing struck a tree. This impact put the Wellington out of control and it caught fire on impact with the ground at 2336hrs.
Remembering the crew of Wellington R1027
|Last Name||First Name(s)||Rank||Role||Information|
|Duke||Gilbert Noel||Sergeant||Observer||RAFVR 1063676. Killed aged 25 years old.|
|Reenberg||John Reginald||Pilot Officer||Pilot||RNZAF 404944. Killed aged 26 years old.|
|Richardson||Frederick Burns||Pilot Officer||2nd Pilot||RNZAF 41997. Killed aged 21 years old.|
|Sinclair||Wilbert Lome||Flight Sergeant||Wireless Operator||RCAF R/78077. Killed aged 27 years old.|
|Walsh||Wilfred||Sergeant||Wireless Operator||RAFVR 1360278. Killed aged 31 years old.|
Gilbert Noel Duke’s grave is in St. Matthias Church of Ireland, Knocknamuckley, Portadown, Co. Armagh. His name is on the Gilford War Memorial, Gilford, Co. Down. His headstone at Knocknamuckley bears the inscription:
He asked life of Thee and Thou gavest it him, even length of days for ever and ever.