James Guy Gilbert, Jr., Class of 1945

James Gilbert, Jr., of Albemarle County, Virginia, entered The Citadel in the Fall of 1941, just months before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. As a Cadet Recruit/4th Class (Freshman), he was a member of Cadet Company L. Fred Melton, ’45, was his classmate and fellow member of L company, and Ernest F. Hollings, ’42, who later became Governor of South Carolina and a U.S. Senator, was his Cadet Company Commander. During his sophomore year, 1942-1943, he was a member of Cadet Company B. [1]

James Guy Gilbert Sphinx 1942Cadet Private James Guy Gilbert, Jr., Class of 1945 [2]

2Lt. Gilbert left The Citadel to join the US Army Air Corps. Following flight training and receiving a commission, he was assigned to the 733rd Bomb Squadron, 453rd Bomb Group of the 8th Air Force. His squadron was based out of Old Buckenham, Norfolk, England. He was killed during a test flight on December 28, 1944 when the B-24J Liberator (#42-51361), of which he was co-pilot, crashed at Clamp Farm, Shrawardine, England. Other members of the crew who died in the crash were 2Lt. Elmer R. Mitchell (pilot), 2Lt. Paul Peterson, SSgt. Roger Batchelder, and TSgt. Gwilym Richards. [3]

1945-gilbert-u20101020...resize022Lt. James G. Gilbert, Jr., Class of 1945
March 5, 1924 – December 28, 1944 [4]

“Lt. Mitchell of the 733rd Squadron and a skeleton crew, flying on a practice mission, became the unfortunate victim of the second tragedy to strike the 453rd in as many days. F/0 Patcheider was the lone survivor when the plane, with three engines gone, crashed into a river bank near Coptherne, Shrewesbury. Lts. Mitchell and Peterson died after undergoing emergency operations in the hospital at Coptherne. Lt. Gilbert, T/Sgt. Richards and S/Sgt. Batchelder were all killed instantly.” [5]

He was buried at the US military cemetery outside of Cambridge. Following the war, 2Lt. Gilbert’s body was repatriated. He now rests in peace at Dexter Cemetery, Dexter, Missouri. [6]


[1] The Sphinx (1942 & 1943 editions), The Annual of the South Carolina Corps of Cadets, The Citadel, Charleston, S.C.
[2] The 1942 Sphinx, p. 158.
[3] Various sources including Aviation Accident Reports.
[4] Photo courtesy of The Citadel Archives and Museum, Charleston, South Carolina.
[5] Liberator Men of Old Buc, Andy Low, editor, 1979, p. 136.
[6] Findagrave.com