NAME: Donald C. Gamble
BRANCH: U.S. Navy - WWII
FIRST RANK: Apprentice Seaman
LAST RANK: AOM2c (Aviation Ordnanceman Second Class)
SERVICE NUMBER: 2025326
HOME ADDRESS WHILE IN SERVICE: 12 Spruce Street & 234 Mt. Pleasant Street, New Bedford, MA
CHURCH: St. Martin's Episcopal Church (He was awarded a cross for his long service as a choir boy there)
SCHOOL: New Bedford High School
FAMILY: Single and no children of his own - he left Parents (Charles and Hazel) and 7 brothers and sisters (4 are still living)
EMPLOYMENT PRIOR TO SERVICE: Minkin Auto & Radio Store in New Bedford, MA (this store was across the street from the Post Office)
BIRTH DATE: 10/10/25
DATES OF SERVICE: 10/22/42 to 04/01/44 -- FYI his MIA DATE was 03/31/44
OFFICIAL NAVY DEATH DATE: 04/01/45 (customary 1 year wait)
AGE AT ENLISTMENT: 17 Years Old (on his 17th birthday he tried to enlist by saying he was 18 but because of his baby face they didn’t believe him and told him to go home and get his father's consent - which he did and officially enlisted 12 days later on 10/22/42)
AGE AT DEATH: 18 Years Old (he was 6 months shy of turning 19)
STATUS: Lost at Sea/MIA and KIA (no body to bury)
STATION(S): Boston, MA; Newport, RI; Jacksonville, FL; Dunkeswell, Devon, England
NAVY CLUB: Navy Club of Greater New Bedford, MA SHIP NO. 22.
LAST SQUADRON: Combat Air Crew - Bombing Squadron 110 (VB-110), Hedron Fleet Air Wing 7 (FAW7)
AIRCRAFT: PB4Y-1 Consolidated Liberator - AKA B-24's (These Liberators were powerful with bomb bays loaded with depth charges and bombs for use against the U-boats and its machine gun magazines filled with hundreds of rounds for use against the German JU88's. A mission lasted eleven or twelve hours and covered up to 1,600 nautical miles)
TAIL DATA: "M" B-12 BuNo. 63948
TASK: Ball turret gunner (managing ammunition, depth chargers and bombs for his crew)
HUT NAME: Buzzard's Roost
PILOT AND LEADER OF FLIGHT/SQUADRON: Lt. Harold Barton of New York
LAST COMMANDING OFFICER: J.R. Reedy, Lt. Comdr. USN
MISSIONS: Anti-Submarine Patrols to defend our vital supply line to the European theater of war. He was one of a group which played an important part in reducing the German U-Boat (or Submarine) menace in the Bay of Biscay
NUMBER OF MISSION PRIOR TO DEATH: 15 missions between October 28, 1943 and March 31, 1944 (Each mission lasted up to 12 hours long and covered up to 1,600 nautical miles)
KILL INFO: Failed to return from an operational mission - Result of enemy action: German pilot Dieter Meister in a JU88 twin engine was credited with the downing of his plane in the Bay of Biscay
CASUALTY CONTROL NUMBER: 24297-Z-22-5
NAVY DEPARTMENT JUDGMENT: "The subject plane was shot down by enemy aircraft either crashed or was force to land at sea and all personnel are missing in the line of duty and not resulting in their own misconduct" - letter dated June 9, 1944
WINGS: 1 Combat Air Crew wing when he joined the Bombing Squadron VB-110
MEDALS: Navy Air Medal with 3 Gold Stars, Purple Heart, European Theater Campaign Medal and the WWII Victory Medal (which the family received after the War ended)
CITATIONS: His parents, Charles and Hazel (Hammond) Gamble were awarded the Navy Air Medal with 3 Gold Stars and the Purple Heart posthumously for Donald's outstanding ability and zeal during day and night missions in defense of our vital supply line to the European theater of war. He was one of a group which played an important part in reducing the German U-Boat menace from their home station at Dunkeswell in Devon England. His unwavering devotion to duty throughout a period of intense operations was in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval service. He participated in many operations under constant threat of German aerial attack and in the face of treacherous weather conditions.
VETERAN'S CENOTAPHS: Memorial book at St. Paul's Church in London England, Tablets of the Missing in Cambridge American Cemetery in England and Rural Cemetery in New Bedford, MA
RESOURCES (I have more if you need them - here's the main one): American Battle Monuments Commission https://www.abmc.gov/search-abmc-burials-and-memorializations/detail/WWII_53757#.VgwEtf2Ya70 and we have documented his service and life on Fold3 (which includes all the websites we have honored him on) – here’s that direct link: https://www.fold3.com/page/529901792_donald_c_gamble/details/
FIND-A-GRAVE Pages: England’s page http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=56289916 and the New Bedford Cenotaph’s page http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=gamble&GSfn=donald&GSmn=charles&GSbyrel=all&GSdyrel=all&GSob=n&GRid=148414938&df=all&
FAMILY INFO: Donald is of Mayflower stock and is a direct descendant of Pilgrims Myles Standish, George Soule and John Alden - these lines have been proven thru the General Mayflower Society in Plymouth, MA with the family number of 86,222. Here is a list of some books that have our family names and lines in them: A history and genealogy of the descendants of William Hammond of London, England by Dr. Roland Hammond, MD; William Ricketson, William Ricketson, Jr., and their descendants by Grace Williamson Edes; The Richmond Family by Joshua Bailey Richmond; A genealogical history of the descendants of Joseph Peck by Ira Peck and The Kempton/Kimpton Families in North America by Morton Saunders.
MOTHER'S ORGANIZATIONS: His Mother, Hazel, was an active member and officer of the American Gold Star Mothers, Inc. (Chapter No. 1) and the American War Mothers (Harmony Chapter) and she held titles like President (with this title she had the opportunity to go to Washington, DC), Secretary, Color Guard and Treasurer throughout the years. She would often represent the New Bedford Chapter by marching or riding in the GSM convertible in all of the New Bedford parades from the 40's to the 80's. FYI - Hazel's Dad (Henry Hammond) organized the Memorial Day Parades in the 50's for New Bedford and my Mom and her siblings would stand next to him at the podium on the grandstand in front of the City Hall and Library as he opened the parade's festivities. He did this in honor of his Grandson Donald.
FATHER'S ORGANIZATIONS: His
Dad, Charles, was an active member of Gold Star Father Society in the
New Bedford Chapter in the 50's.
MORE DONALD INFO: Donald is in the book called "U.S. Navy PB4Y-1 (B-24) Liberator Squadrons: in Great Britain during World War II" by Alan Carey - he is pictured on page 58 with the rest of his VB-110 squad members. We also created a Facebook page to collaborate and obtain information/pictures of Donald during his service life. The family has also participated in many data gathering websites that are committed to documenting every WWII serviceman that was either killed during the war and/or received medals during their tenure or posthumously. I have a list of the website if required.
FAMILY COMMITTED TO HONORING HIM: Myself (Carla Sherman), my brother Wayne Sherman and our cousins: Jeff Gamble, Valerie Gamble, Philip Gamble, Barbara Jo (Damazo) Gage, Carolyn (Damazo) Gentry, Joyce (Gamble) Hicks and Miriam (Silva) Riding