To command RAF base in Second World War
he ended up making an emergency landing of his own.
Insall and Donald stayed with their aircraft until nightfall, despite being bombarded by about 150 shells, then repaired the Gunbus by torchlight and flew it back to base at dawn.
Insall was unable to receive his VC as scheduled because he was shot down by German flying ace Hauptmann (captain) Martin Zander on December 14 1915.
Badly wounded, he fell behind enemy lines and was captured.
He spent the following 18 months trying to break out of a number of prisoner of war camps, often dressed in elaborate disguises.
He managed to leave Krefeld camp in western Germany by hiding in a laundry cart, but was caught walking down a road in broad daylight and returned.
Another time, he was recaptured after trying to tunnel out of a camp.
He finally escaped permanently, from Strohenmoor camp near Hanover, on August 28 1917, walking 150 miles over nine nights to reach the safety of the Dutch border.
Insall won the Military Cross for his escapes in 1918.
Insall was the eldest of four children – three boys and a girl – and his younger brothers, Algernon John Insall and Cecil Dudley Insall, followed him into the Royal Flying Corps (RFC), the air arm of the British Army before and during the First World War, which merged with the Royal Naval Air Service in April 1918 to form the Royal Air Force.
Algernon John, known by his family as Uncle Jack or The Guv’nor, served with Captain Insall in No 11 Squadron RFC, qualifying as a pilot and later becoming an observer.
Cecil Dudley, nicknamed The Infant by his siblings, joined the RFC just before the formation of the RAF, and trained as an airship pilot.
Insall stayed in the RAF when the First World War ended, and in 1925 he photographed a formation of pits he spotted from his plane, which turned out to be the Bronze Age site now known as Woodhenge, two miles from Stonehenge.
Back to war
He was made a captain in 1933, and during the Second World War he commanded RAF Padgate, near Warrington, and a nearby street was named Insall Road in his honour.
He died of bronchial pneumonia in RAF Nocton Hall Hospital on February 17 1972, aged 77.
Gilbert Insall, who spoke French and German, was born in Paris on May 14, 1894, to dentist Gilbert Jenkins Insall and Mary Stuart, nee Read.
His father was head of the Ecole Odontique of the Sorbonne, and Gilbert was training as a dentist until the outbreak of the First World War.
Gilbert Jenkins Insall was still living at Imber when the Second World War ended.
He died soon after, aged 89, and his daughter, Esmé, lived with him to look after him in his final years.
David believes Imber was once two half-timbered cottages that someone, possibly his grandfather, put together to make one house.
Imber is now owned by Weald East ward representative Cllr Paul Bartlett who said: “I have lived in the village since 1976 and purchased Imber in 2007 as a derelict cottage from Union Rail, which owned it for 15 years while they built High Speed 1.
“It has taken a lot of work to bring it back to its former glory.”
A portrait of Captain Insall, painted by Edward Newling in 1919, formed part of the Great War in Portraits exhibition at The National Portrait Gallery.