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Remembering Jack Gubbins

Early in 1940 Jack Gubbins was called up to the RAF and volunteered for aircrew, mistakenly being posted to the Royal Canadian Air Force 6 Group assigned to Squadron 433 on Halifax bombers. – he enjoyed it there very much so he stayed on with them. Initially training as a Flight Sergeant, and was later commissioned. Jack was trained to be responsible for the aircraft's signals and radar equipment. The plane he was assigned to was called S FOR SUGAR , and he was lucky enough to survive 37 bombing missions with the skill and experience he had achieved gave him the opportunity for him to rise from enlisted airman to acting squadron leader.
Jack never glamorised his war experiences and told tales of luckily surviving a collision with another aircraft which lost a wing and the aircraft he was in was seriously damaged with their rear gunner left exposes to the elements for the journey home. Limping home with hardly any fuel and forced to make an emergency landings at specially selected strips on the east coast.
Jack was posted to Honeybourne near Broadway after his 37 missions had ended, as an instructor. After the war had ended I was posted to an arduous administration course for 8 weeks once completing this course, his RAF career finished as Station Adjutant at Sliverstone from where he was demobbed in 1946.
Jack Gubbins helped to found family butchery business B. Gubbins and Co.
An early horror story was of his collecting a brand new sign written van, parking it momentarily at the wholesalers and to come back to witness that it had been flattened by a Smithfield lorry.
Back to family butchery business after the war he, met Noreen, had three children, and built up the business further to provide a good living for Noreen and their three children, ultimately now 4 grand-children and 5 great-grandchildren.
Became president of Master Butcher's Association, Jack also regularly competed as a member of Kirby Muxloe golf club finishing up his golfing days as a member of the "old farts" club which involved missing out all fairways and greens and heading straight for the 19th Hole.
Trailblazing Mediterranean holidays in the early days when Butlins was the normal holidays destination.
Jack and Noreen were members of the Leicester Tigers rugby club for many years following the club to many memorable games at Twickenham and Cardiff.
In the early 80's a chance encounter lead to him becoming reacquainted with his old bomber crew many still alive and he and Noreen had a memorable reunion in Canada renewing friendships that have lasted the years, although in the end he was the last surviving member of the S-Sugar crew.
Jack embarked on a Masonic career and became master of two lodges, the brotherhood gave him many happy and fulfilled years. Involved in many organisations, Parish Councillor, Chairman of the scout supporters group, member of the LOROS fundraising committee bowled with the Glenfield Bowling club. Recently was VIP guest of the Bomber Command memorial meeting with Prince Charles.
A Christian demonstrating a quiet devotion to his faith. Loved to sing and undertook violin lessons, cooking, Spanish and a more recent attempt to learn French.
He was loved dearly and will be missed for his wisdom, his vitality and even nature, supportiveness to family and his willingness to take the time to listen to their tales

Jack liked a good party and some of his happiest wartime memories were of the parties he had attended in London. These parties were given by a fellow officer whose wife was an actress, at one of these parties he met Noel Coward and other members of the London wartime glitterati. Quite something for a young man from provincial Leicester.
Loved walking and tramping across moors with his dog – occasionally would talk about his wartime memories but his stories were of bravery and camaraderie of his fellow airman and the sacrifices they made for us all.
Jack loved sport and attended many great sporting venues, Trent Bridge, The Oval and on one occasion the Park Des Princes in Paris. The French trip was very memorable with a thrilling win in the European Final for Leicester Tigers and although Jack was a navigator in the war, his navigation skills were called into question as we navigated our way around Paris.
Jack was immensely proud of his wartime record but he was equally proud of his family and his family are all enormously proud of you Jack.

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