Surgeon General John Gibbons served in the Eastern Campaign of 1854–1855. He was at the Battles of Alma, Inkerman and the siege and fall of Sebastopol where he was wounded on 20 October 1854 by a shell in the trenches. He took part in the attack and occupation of the Cemetery on 18 June. He was specially mentioned in Lord Raglan's despatches for his exertions during the siege. He received the Crimean Medal with three clasps, the Turkish Medal and was appointed a Knight of the Legion of Honour.
On 19 June 1855, Surgeon General John Gibbons was mentioned in the following
orders issued by General Eyre of the Third Division of the British Army, for his gallantry in the action before Sebastopol.
Second Brigade Orders, Third Division June 19th: The Major-General commanding the Brigade requests that the officers, non-commissioned officers. and men, will accept his thanks for their conduct yesterday. He cannot sufficiently express his admiration of their coolness, gallantry and discipline during a most trying day. He must tender his thanks to the medical department for their judicious arrangements to provide for the wounded, which arrangements were most successful. To Assistant-Surgeon Gibbons 44th Regiment and Geeves 38th Regiment, especially, much praise is due for their zealous and humane exertions in the field while exposed to a galling fire from the enemy.1
In 1857–1858, Surgeon General Gibbons served in the suppression of the Indian Mutiny in medical charge of the 32nd Light Infantry. He was present in the successful attack on the entrenched position at Dehaygain, the capture of the fort of Duhool, the action at Doopore, the affair at Jugdespore and the surrender of the forts of Amethic and Luckerpoore. He also accompanied the column under Colonel Carmichael which drove Beni Madkoo across the Gazra. He was decorated with the Indian Medal.
Surgeon-General John Gibbons was made a a Commander of the British Empire (CB) for his services in the Afghan War. He served with the 1st Division Peshawar Valley Field Force as the Principal Medical Officer. During the return of the 1st and 2nd Divisions of the Peshawar Valley Field Force from India to Afghanistan through the Kyber Pass in June 1879, the army was severely affected by cholera, excessive heat, absence of shade and scarcity of water. From Peshawar, all the European troops from the front reached their respective stations, but not without considerable loss from cholera and sunstroke. The Base hospital, and officers' hospital in connection with it, which had afforded such relief and comfort to very bad cases passing through Peshawar were broken up in May 1881, there being no further use for either. It was urged by the medical authorities that one should be kept ready for service but the medical arrangements were as of old, on the regimental system.
Within three months, another had to be hurriedly got ready; and in eighteen hours all the indents in duplicate or triplicate for the various requirements had to be made out, countersigned, presented, and, to a certain extent, complied with by the Commissariat, Ordnance, Transport, and Medical Departments; and the incongruous mass of stores, tents, carts, camels, mules, etc., arranged and started for the outposts with an infantry brigade. It was a rabble for several marches; and the bulk of the commissariat stores did not arrive for several days, for want of transport.3
In the farewell order of Lieutenant-General Sir Samuel Browne, commanding the First Division Peshawar Valley Field Force, the General tendered to the following medical officers, in common with the Divisional staff, Deputy Surgeon-General J. Gibbons, Principal Medical Officer, and Surgeons-Major G. Davie and J. H. Porter, his acknowledgments for the able and efficient manner in which they performed their respective duties, and the support and assistance they have invariably rendered him.2
Surgeon-General John Gibbons died at 8 Waterloo Road Dublin in December 1882 in his fifty-eight year.