Richard Edward Gibson

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Richard Edward Gibson, OBE, MB, ChB, FRCS(ED), Jurat

Early Years and World War I

Richard Edward Gibson was born on 8 July 1891 and educated at Elizabeth College, Guernsey, and Edinburgh University, where he graduated in medicine in 1914.
On the outbreak of war he joined the RAMC serving throughout the conflict. He was appointed Deputy Assistant Director of Medical Services with the Cavalry Corps, British Expeditionary Force, reaching the rank of major, and was awarded the OBE for his services.
He married Daphne Fletcher and had two twin daughters and one son.

Inter-war Years

In 1919 Dr Gibson entered general practice in Guernsey and in 1927 took the FRCS (Edinburgh). From 1921 until its disbandment he was senior medical officer to the Royal Guernsey Militia, and also held the post of senior administration officer to the Ministry of Pensions.
He was elected a Deputy in the States of Guernsey, and in 1956 was elected a Jurat of the Royal Court.

World War II and Occupation

Dr Gibson stayed on in Guernsey during the German Occupation to care for his patients. He was surgeon at the Castel Hospital.
Dr Gibson had several run-ins with the German authorities. On New Year’s Eve, 1941, a drunken German sergeant accidentally shot George Fisher during the celebrations. Fisher was rushed to the Emergency Hospital where Dr Gibson treated him. Sergeant Major Oeser of the Feldgendarmerie demanded entrance to the ward to speak to Fisher, to which Dr Gibson replied, ‘No’. PC Fred Short describes what ensued:

You should have seen Oeser’s face, he shouted all sorts of threats, demanded to know the doctor’s name and said that ‘You have insulted the Third Reich’. Doctor Gibson, who had been a Major in the first war, stood his ground and merely said ‘No, I forbid you to go near that man’. So that was that.” [1]

At the trial of the drunken German sergeant, Dr Gibson

was called as the first witness and instructed to take the oath by “Putting your hand and arm up like that” in a demonstration of the Nazi salute. “No”, Dr Gibson said “We take the oath the English way with the Bible.” [2]

In January 1945, Dr Gibson’s vegetable garden behind ‘Beechwood’ in Queen’s Road was requisitioned by the Germans. He protested strongly, pointing out that this garden had supplied 18 people with vegetables. His appeal was turned down by Militärverwaltungsrat Schneberger.
On 9 May 1945, Dr Gibson was at St. Peter Port Harbour to see the arrival of the liberating forces. In his own words:

I witnessed in the early hours of the morning the arrival of the British navy and I was one of a small crowd of about 150 people who broke the police cordon on the harbour and welcomed the first landing of our troops.[3]

Post-war Career

In 1948 Dr Gibson was elected to the staff of the newly opened Princess Elizabeth Hospital.

Retirement and Death

Dr Gibson retired in 1956 and died on 27 November 1974.

Tribute from the British Medical Journal

He had a forceful and charming personality with a clarity of thought that inspired confidence in his patients, and his reputation for surgical skill was high. A good and witty speaker, he was much sought after on social occasions and was liked by a large circle of friends.[4]


  1. Bell, William M., I Beg to Report: Policing in Guernsey During the German Occupation, 1995
  2. Bell, William M., I Beg to Report: Policing in Guernsey During the German Occupation, 1995
  3. Bell, William M., Guernsey Occupied But Never Conquered, 2002
  4. Obituary, British Medical Journal, 14 December 1974
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