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RM44 Arthur DOOLEY EX4045, killed at Achnacarry  XML
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anniesillitoe
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Joined: 20/06/2015 11:02:19
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Hi All, I'm new to the forums and the information and support is wonderful. I'm hoping you can help me with a bit of a mystery...

My great-uncle Arthur DOOLEY of RM44 Commando was killed in training at Achnacarry alongside Ty/Act/Sergeant Eric H. GIBSON.

The War Diary for 19th September 1943 states, "p.m. 2" mortar accident resulting in death of Sgt Gibson and Cpl A. Dooley, both of C Troop".
A later entry dated 24th September states "Capt G.P.E. Sealey attends Court of Enquiry held in camp to investigate causes of accidents to personnel of 44 (RM) Commando."

I am looking into this as the family 'legend' is that someone, possibly a conscientious objector, was later found guilty of tampering with the ammunition and was hanged for the crime.
I am currently at the National Archives and checking any records I can find.
I am still waiting on Arthur's service record that I ordered many months ago from Australia (I'm travelling in UK), to see if there's anything in there, but looking to see what else I can find in the meantime.
I'm not sure how much truth there is in the story, but the Dooley brothers were all close (Stan Dooley served in RM45) and all told their children some variation of this story.

I have already checked Courts Martial records, civil law records, executions in UK, War Diaries, and tried a brief search for the family members of Sgt Gibson, with no evidence found.

Any help or leads would be very greatly appreciated. I'll be visiting the Achnacarry area in a few weeks to pay my respects to my Uncle Arthur and Sgt Gibson, and a couple of weeks ago I was at Sword Beach for D-Day commemorations for Arthur's brother, Stan. It would be lovely to be able to share more details with my family, and Arthur means a lot to me as he had no descendants of his own.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 20/06/2015 11:32:37

GUY
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Joined: 26/05/2012 17:50:52
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Eric Hookway Gibson was born in Bideford Devon in 1920. Sadly, he was the only son of William and Susan Gibson of Bideford.
I have found a newspaper article about Sgt Gibson. Pre-war he was a talented athlete and rugby player.

Please send me a message by PM and I will forward you the newspaper article.
Guy

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 20/06/2015 13:09:52

anniesillitoe
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Joined: 20/06/2015 11:02:19
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Thank you very much!
I did find details (names) for his parents - such a pity he was an only child.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 20/06/2015 13:15:31


Great-niece of Arthur DOOLEY (44RM) and Stanley DOOLEY (45RM)
Pete
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Joined: 23/09/2008 00:08:02
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For the benefit of those who may not have seen it, we have a photo of the grave of your great uncle on this link Corporal Arthur Dooley

Do you have a photo of him?

In Memory of EX/4045 Corporal Arthur Dooley
44 RM Commando, Royal Marines
who died aged 26 on 19/9/43
Remembered with honour at Liverpool (Anfield) Cemetery

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 21/06/2015 12:56:38


Pete Rogers, son of LSgt Joe Rogers MM & nephew of TSM Ken McAllister. Both No2 Commando.
God and the Soldier, all men adore, In time of danger and not before.
When the danger is passed and all things righted, God is forgotten, and the Soldier slighted.


**** nb. I no longer monitor private messages. ****
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anniesillitoe
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Joined: 20/06/2015 11:02:19
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Thank you. I visited his grave last year in Anfield Cemetery and will visit again in a few weeks.
I do have a photo, plus an image of his entry in his church Book of Remembrance, but not sure how to post them.
If you PM me I can email them to you if that's easiest?

Great-niece of Arthur DOOLEY (44RM) and Stanley DOOLEY (45RM)
Pete
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Joined: 23/09/2008 00:08:02
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Thank you for the photo Annie. I have now added it to the 44RM Commando gallery. Here is the link :

http://gallery.commandoveterans.org/cdoGallery/v/units/Royal+Marine+Commando+Units/44+RM+Cdo_001/Arthur+DOOLEY.jpg.html

Regards

Pete

Pete Rogers, son of LSgt Joe Rogers MM & nephew of TSM Ken McAllister. Both No2 Commando.
God and the Soldier, all men adore, In time of danger and not before.
When the danger is passed and all things righted, God is forgotten, and the Soldier slighted.


**** nb. I no longer monitor private messages. ****
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anniesillitoe
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Joined: 20/06/2015 11:02:19
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Thank you very much, Pete!
He was a handsome man, and apparently a great ballroom dancer!
My father remembers that a photo of the Commando Memorial at Spean Bridge was always on the mantelpiece at home in memory of his mother's little brother.

Great-niece of Arthur DOOLEY (44RM) and Stanley DOOLEY (45RM)
GUY
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Some additional information about Eric Hookway Gibson.

Charles Gibson (Eric's grandfather) was born in Musselburgh in 1860. He was a club maker and professional golfer. He moved from Scotland to take up the post of golf professional at the Royal North Devon Golf Club.

In January 1939 Eric was appointed professional assistant to Laurie Ayton jnr at Stoneham Golf Club, Southampton. If Eric had survived the war he too would have had a successful professional golf career.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 21/06/2015 17:38:55

Julie W
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There are some interviews with RM44 veterans held at the Imperial War Museum which are available to listen to online. The sabotage story is mentioned in several of the interviews, including the one with Thomas Charles 'Dinger' Bell. On reel 1 from about the 19 minute point he says:

"There was a faulty batch of mortar ammunition and they fired one and it went off in the barrel and killed a marine... There was a bit of a discussion then between our Colonel and the Colonel of the camp about whether we should fire another one because when things happen you just fire another one but it was decided not to and they checked the ammunition first and they found it was a faulty batch that had been obviously worked on by somebody and there was a wire that was there and it wasn't: it had been cut, it had been severed and if they'd carried on using these bombs they'd have carried on killing blokes, so we were lucky there. They got an ammunitions expert in and he stripped it down and found it had been sabotaged, this batch."
Here's the link to the interview: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/80018883

Julie

Cousin of Capt. Larry Stephens, No. 5 Commando 1943-1946
His biography is available from all good bookshops from April 2020 https://www.waterstones.com/book/its-all-in-the-mind/julie-warren/9781783528622
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anniesillitoe
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Joined: 20/06/2015 11:02:19
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Thank you SO MUCH Julie! I'm slowly making my way through the IWM interviews but I'm travelling and they're not available on my iPad. This really helps though... and just heard his service record has arrived at my uncle's house too!

Great-niece of Arthur DOOLEY (44RM) and Stanley DOOLEY (45RM)
NIC
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Great piece of research Julie.

Nick

Nick Collins,

Commando Association Archivist & Photographer.

Proud son of Cpl Mick Collins, 5 Troop, No5 Cdo

"Truly we may say of them, when shall their glory fade?"


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anniesillitoe
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Joined: 20/06/2015 11:02:19
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I received an email from my uncle, who has just received Arthur's service record.
The only information regarding his death is as follows:

Marine (Acting Corporal) EX / 4045
Died 19 Sept 1943
Cause: Accident on Duty
Ship: 44 RM Commando
Place of Death: Achnacarry, Invernesshire

Does this mean that he was not ever officially a commando as he never finished training?

His service record also gives a "DNA WILLS No." - what does this mean exactly? Would a will exist somewhere?

Great-niece of Arthur DOOLEY (44RM) and Stanley DOOLEY (45RM)
Tempiz
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Joined: 19/03/2016 16:27:19
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Location: Barnstaple, Devon
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Hi Annie and others commenting on this post!

My name is Nick and my paternal Uncle is named Eric after Eric Hookway Gibson. Eric Gibson's Mother, Susan Broom Gibson (nee Hookway) was sister to my father and uncle Eric's grandmother, Emily Hookway.

My uncle Eric has been very interested in finding out more about his namesake, especially as stated in the below posts that Eric Gibson was an only child and now has no one to remember him and speak his name. I've had a bit of success in the past in finding my great grandfathers war time history serving in the RMLI pre WW1 and then his call back to service for WW1, so I've accepted the challenge to find out more about Sgt Eric Gibson, which has led me here.

I'm very grateful for the information already shared about Eric's athletic and golfing career. Interestingly, my paternal Grandfather also was a pro at the Royal North Devon golf club during this time period and am sure must have played golf with Eric, particularly as Eric was his cousin and sought to name my uncle after him.

I was heartened to read in a document about Achnacarry that the Commando candidates were buddied together in pairs through their training. Seeing a picture of Arthur and the kind nature that shines from him makes me think Eric was in a great partnership.

I would welcome anything anyone has to offer in my search. So far I know he was in 44RM and would have been possibly in the 3rd battalion? Any campaign information would be great.

Thank you in advance.

Nick.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 06/04/2016 15:31:58


Second cousin (once removed) of Sergeant Eric Hookway Gibson 44 RM Commando.
anniesillitoe
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Joined: 20/06/2015 11:02:19
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Hi Nick,
Great to hear from you! I was hoping one day to get in touch with a relative of Eric's.
I have copies of the battalion war diaries from the days around when Eric and Arthur were killed, so I'll have a search and get back to you.
Lots of info about the training exercises they were doing in their last days and what the troops did in the days after. I found it both fascinating and bittersweet.
I haven't been able to rustle up any more info of what exactly happened (official records), but I have Arthur's service record so will have another look as I think there was a lead in there that I didn't have time to follow up at the time.
Will definitely be back in touch!

Great-niece of Arthur DOOLEY (44RM) and Stanley DOOLEY (45RM)
Tempiz
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Joined: 19/03/2016 16:27:19
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Location: Barnstaple, Devon
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Hi Annie

Thanks for replying! :) I note that this thread is quite old so I'm really pleased to have you reply.

Whatever information you have would be great. Having spoken to my mum this evening after telling her of my finds this afternoon, she tells me that it was often wondered by Eric's surviving family, namely his parents, whether his death was result of an accident or the intention to take his own life. Mum wasn't aware that he hadn't died alone so stumbling across this post and other bits I've found about Achnacarry have been somewhat of a revelation. I'd be very interested to know the channels you went to in order to get Arthur's service record, and exactly what is contained within it. I have had great success getting my great grandfathers service record from Fleet Airarm, but today paid to join 'Forces War Records' only to find that the information they offer is very poor, often supposed and nothing I didn't already know. (Name, service number and Division).

I very much look forward to anything you can offer.

Best regards from Sunny Devon!

Nick.

Second cousin (once removed) of Sergeant Eric Hookway Gibson 44 RM Commando.
 
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