Thomas Gibson AM

b. 08/08/1908 South Shields.  d. 14/12/1934 North Atlantic.

DATE OF AM ACTION: 14/12/1934 North Atlantic.

Very little is known about the life of Thomas Gibson other than his Albert Medal action.



In December, 1934, the s.s. ” Usworth” of Newcastle was in distress in the North Atlantic Ocean while on a voyage from Montreal to Queenstown with a cargo of grain. Attempts were made to save the vessel but at about midnight on 13/14th December it became clear that she would have to be abandoned by her crew. Very gallant efforts were then made by the Belgian s.s. ” Jean Jadot” and the s.s ” Ascania ” of Liverpool to take off the crew. In the course of these efforts the “Ascania” manosuvred as close as was possible to the ” Usworth,” and about 2 p.m. on 14th December, sent away a lifeboat to her. There had been a whole gale from the westnorth-west which at this time had slightly moderated, but there were still frequent heavy squalls and high seas; oil was being pumped on the sea. The lifeboat from the “Ascania” got under the lee of the “Usworth,” about fifteen feet away from her with the crew ready to pull away as the “Usworth ” drifted down on to the lifeboat. Those on the ” Usworth ” were told to jump one at a time into the lifeboat, but in the excitement three members of the “Usworth’s ” crew jumped into the water together. One of the men who jumped from the ” Usworth ” was the cook, T. Gibson. He was a strong swimmer and would probably have reached the ” Ascania’s ” lifeboat in another two or three strokes, but the messroom boy, L. Jones, who had got into difficulties, shouted for help and Gibson was seen to tread water and then to turn back. Unfortunately he was unable, in the oil-coated sea, to swim with the boy to the ” Ascania’s ” lifeboat, and, notwithstanding attempts made to save them by those remaining on the ” Usworth,” they were swept under the “Usworth’s” stern and both were drowned. There is no doubt that Mr. Gibson sacrificed his life in attempting to save the messroom boy.