Squadron Leader Charles Arbuthnot CROMBIE DSO DFC

Service No: 404099
Born: Brisbane QLD, 16 March 1915
Enlisted in the RAAF: 24 May 1940
Unit: No. 5 Operational Training Unit
Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), 25 May 1943
Awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO), 19 February 1943 (Citation Title: No. 176 Squadron RAF)
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 5 Operational Training Unit Beaufighter aircraft A19-198), RAAF Station Williamtown NSW, 26 August 1945, Aged 31 Years
Buried: Newcastle (Sandgate) War Cemetery, NSW
CWGC Additional Information: Son of David William Alexander and Phoebe Janet Crombie; husband of Betty Deane Crombie, of Warwick, Queensland
Roll of Honour: Warwick QLD
Remembered: Panel 112, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: The Capt. Clarence Smith Jeffries (V.C.) and Pte. William Matthew Currey (V.C.) Memorial Wall, Sandgate NSW

Brother of Sergeant Mervyn Cobbe Crombie (404172)

DFC Citation (for service with No. 89 Squadron RAF): “Flying Officer Crombie has consistently displayed a great standard of courage and keenness. He has participated in intruder patrols and made low level attacks on enemy bases. At all times, this officer’s fine fighting spirit and leadership have been of a high order. He has personally destroyed four enemy aircraft in air combat.”
(London Gazette 25 May 1943, page 2322)

On 26 August 1945, Beaufighter A19-198 crashed during a non-operational test flight and Squadron Leader Crombie died of his injuries. The aircraft undershot on a single engine approach and crashed 440 yards from the eastern end of the east-west runway of the Williamtown aerodrome.

The crew members of A19-198 were:

Squadron Leader Charles Arbuthnot Crombie DSO DFC (404099) (Pilot) Fatally injured
Leading Aircraftman John Victor Light (162792) (Flight Rigger, Supernumerary) Slightly injured, Discharged from the RAAF: 24 December 1945
Flight Lieutenant William Henry Stephens (403964) (Pilot under training) Slightly injured, Discharged from the RAAF: 23 October 1945


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/8/1275; A9845, 21
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line


Parnell, N.M. (Neville M.) Whispering Death: A history of the RAAF’s Beaufighter Squadrons, AH & AW Reed, Terry Hills NSW, 1980
Wilson, S. (Stewart) Beaufort, Beaufighter and Mosquito in Australian Service, Aerospace Publications Weston Creek ACT 2611, 1990

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