Gamble, Frederick Maxwell (Flight Lieutenant, b.1920 - d.?)

Accession Number AWM2017.985.1
Collection type Private Record
Record type Collection
Measurement Extent: 2 cm; Wallet/s: 1
Object type Log book, Letter, Document
Maker Gamble, Frederick Maxwell
Date made 1942-1945, 1948-1949, 1966-1971, 1999
Access Open
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945
Copying Provisions Copying permitted subject to physical condition

Collection relating to the Second World War service of 409202 Flight Lieutenant Frederick Maxwell "Max" Gamble DFC, 1437 Strategic Reconnaissance Flight, No. 225 Squadron RAF, No. 213 Squadron RAF, 1942-1945.

Gamble was 20 years old when he enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in July 1941. He had two year's service in the 38th Battalion, Citizens Military Force and had been working on his father's farm when he enlisted. Gamble was selected for flight training and completed his initial instruction at No. 27 Elementary Flying Training School in Rhodesia, before proceeding on to No. 22 Service Flying Training School for advanced training. The collection includes reports on Gamble's results and progress at both training establishments, where he was rated "a very keen and intelligent pupil" and "an above average pilot with plenty of natural aptitude".

The collection also includes Gamble's flying logbook. Gamble was commissioned a pilot officer in March 1943 and, embarking for the Middle East, was posted to 1437 Strategic Reconnaissance Flight from August to October 1943. The flight was disbanded due to lack of replacement aircraft and Gamble was posted to No. 225 Squadron RAF in Italy, where he flew reconnaissance missions photographing potential targets and enemy movements in central and northern Italy. Gamble's logbook records that, having flown 75 operational sorties, he completed his first tour of operations in February 1944 and was posted for a period of rest as an instructor at 13 Air Gunnery School in Egypt and then to No. 74 Operational Training Unit in Palestine. Gamble returned to operations with No. 213 Squadron RAF from November 1944, leading armed reconnaissance and bombing operations over south eastern Europe. Gamble had flown 59 operational sorties with the squadron by the time the war in Europe ended in May 1945, though his logbook records that he continued to fly sporadically until the 1970s. For his success in destroying enemy targets and in flying operations in adverse weather conditions, Gamble was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) in August 1945.

Also included in the collection is Gamble's air force identity card from 1945, a letter from Air Vice Marshal Henry Wrigley (commander RAAF Overseas Headquarters in London) congratulating Gamble on the award of his DFC, and a letter of invitation for Gamble to attend an investiture ceremony to receive his DFC from the Governor of Kenya in 1948. Gamble was living in Kenya by this time, having joined the East African Coffee Plantation Ltd (an Australian agricultural company) following his discharge from the RAAF in early 1946. Gamble rose in the company to become managing director by 1968. Gamble's wartime experiences and post-war life are outlined in a 1969 letter to an R.J. Lewis and in a 1999 letter to Frank Leeson, a former air force pilot and author of a history of No. 213 Squadron RAF.