Stanley Frederick Gibbs GC (AM exchanger)

b. 02/01/1909 Hunters Hill, NSW, Australia. d. 03/03/1991 Sydney, Australia.

DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 03/01/1927 Port Hacking, NSW, Australia.

Stanley Frederick Gibbs (1909-1991) was born in Hunters Hill, New South Wales, Australia on 2nd January 1909, the son of Lindsay Thomas and Edith Gibbs (nee Trevillion). His parents had married the year before he was born. Stan had two sisters, Ellen, born in 1910, and Phyllis I, born in 1912, and a brother, Lindsay, born in 1917. After school, Stan worked in a gent’s store. He then later gained employment with the Gas Light Company in Sydney.

Stanley F Gibbs GC

On 3rd January 1927, at Port Hacking, near Sydney, Australia, he was on a launch returning to shore when he saw 8 children swimming. Mervyn Allum, Gibbs’ girlfriend’s brother, was suddenly attacked by a shark. At first it was thought he was drowning and Gibbs prepared to give assistance. Then the shark lifted him completely out of the water and Allum tried to push him off with his hands. Gibbs dived in and fought the shark with his hands, but it attacked Allum again and the water was red with blood. Eventually Gibbs succeeded in getting him away from the shark and, with help, onto the launch. The shark had taken all the flesh from the left leg to the hip clean off. He also had bite marks to the stomach and hands and was pronounced dead on arrival at hospital. This was the day after Gibbs 18th birthday.

Gibbs was awarded the Albert Medal on 8th February 1927, and was invested with his decoration at Sydney Town Hall on the 28th March 1927 by HRH The Duke of York (later King George VI). He was also awarded the Royal Humane Society Gold Medal. In 1929, he married Constance Coulson in Newtown, the first of three marriages. He later married Rosamunde Walker in 1935, and finally in 1948 to Doris Mannix, with whom he had two children.

On 9th February 1942, Gibbs enlisted in the Second Australian Imperial Force at Paddington for service during the Second World War. Allocated to the 35th Battalion as a private, he served in the army until his discharge on 28th December 1944, at which time he returned to his job with the Gas Light Company. When he retired from the Gas Light Company, he had clocked up service of 45 years. He was also a keen sportsman, playing tennis, golf and football as a younger man, before switching to bowls.

Following the change in the Royal Warrant in 1971, Stanley opted to exchange his Albert Medal for a George Cross, and was invested at Buckingham Palace on 12th July 1972. Stanley retired to Sydney, and passed away on 3rd March 1991, aged 82. He was cremated and his ashes were interred at Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park, Sydney, NSW, Australia. His GC, Royal Humane Society Gold Medal and 1977 Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal are privately held.




Round Rose Gardens, Garden B14, Position 0122