Paul Gibson will be thinking of his father, grandfather and great-grandfather today when the clock strikes 11:00 for Remembrance Day.
“Gibbo” is the Chief Pilot of the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service and served in the Australian Army between 1983-93. He comes from a strong military family, with his brothers, father, grandfather and great-grandfather all serving in the defence forces.
“My grandfather John Smith was in the Royal Australian Navy and served in the Mediterranean,” Gibson told lifesaving.com.au.
“He survived the war.
“My father served in the British Royal Air Force where he toured Borneo and Malaysia.”
Just recently, Gibson’s mother found a photograph of his great-grandfather Robert Gribble, of when he was first enlisted to the 10th Light Horse Regiment for World War 1.
Gibson was touched to see the photo.
“I knew it was him straight away as I knew his service number – 1581.
“I remember visiting him as a kid. He’d give us 20 cents to go and get ice creams.”
“Everyone gets old, but they were just as young and enthusiastic as the current generation,” he said.
This Remembrance Day, RSL Queensland is asking all Australians to Remember to Remember – to commit to pausing for just one minute to remember those who gave their lives in service to their country, those who returned home injured or ill, and those who bravely serve our country today.
Gibson said it’s important to take a moment and reflect.
“With my Dad’s passing earlier this year, this Remembrance Day will be more poignant,” he said.
He shared the same passion for aviation as his late father did.
“We were interested in what our Dad did and it sounded interesting,” Gibson said.
“My Dad was an aircraft, avionics technician.”
After being discharged from the Australian Army in 1993, Gibson studied to become a helicopter pilot and has flown for 22 years.
Since joining Surf Life Saving Queensland in 2013, he now keeps people safe by patrolling Gold and Sunshine Coast beaches in the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service and responds to emergency taskings. Over the past seven years he has flown more than 2000 hours and has saved numerous lives.