The late David Gibling (Balliol 1941) has been appointed to the rank of Chevalier in the Ordre national de la Légion d’Honneur by the President of the French Republic. The award - the highest class in the order - recognises his ‘military engagement and steadfast involvement in the Liberation of France during the Second World War’.
David Gibling wrote about his experiences of the Allies’ invasion of Normandy in Floreat Domus 2014, remembering D-Day and the landings as ‘a triumph of cooperation, planning and courageous execution’ which were ‘the essential precursor to the restoration of liberty and welfare to nations where these had been in abeyance for so long’. The war interrupted his studies at Balliol and after the war he returned to complete his degree. He then joined the OU Education Department and later became a grammar school teacher.
In a letter advising him of the appointment, the French Ambassador wrote: ’As we contemplate this Europe of peace, we must never forget the heroes like you who came from Britain and the Commonwealth to begin the liberation of Europe by liberating France. We owe our freedom and security to your dedication, because you were ready to risk your life.’ Sadly David Gibling had died on 7 April 2017, aged 94, before the award was made.