With Peter Fawns, James Gibson was one of the senior, highly trained specialist submariners loaned by the RN in 1913 to man the newly commissioned AE2 submarine.
Gibson remained in Turkey as a prisoner of war for three and half years, first at Afion Kara Hissar, then at Belemedik railway construction headquarters where his technical and engineering skills were valuable. He later refused to talk about his bitter experiences as a prisoner but did mention that he had worked underground in the construction of 12 railway tunnels.
According to his daughter-in-law Elaine Gibson, on release Gibson was little more than a ‘walking skeleton’, but after his return to London—and to his wife Annie and their two sons—in December 1918 he quickly recovered his health. In 1919 he was again loaned to the RAN for three years. He decided to settle in Australia and used his entitlement to a return passage to England to bring out his wife and boys to join him and set up a home in Geelong, Victoria. Gibson served in the RAN, officially still on loan from the RN, until 1923 when he was stationed at Cerberus. He retired at the age of 49, but later worked as an engineer at the Geelong cement works. James Gibson was the longest-lived of all the AE2 men, dying in his nineties in 1966. As befitted a sailor, his ashes were scattered on the sea near the RAN’s Osborne House, North Geelong.