Flight Sergeant Donald Edwin HANSCOMBE

Service No: 422174
Born: Bega NSW, 14 November 1922
Enlisted in the RAAF: 25 April 1942
Unit: No. 106 Squadron (RAF), RAF Station Metheringham
Died: Air Operations: (No. 106 Squadron Lancaster aircraft PB281), Germany, 4 December 1944, Aged 22 Years
Buried: Durnbach War Cemetery, Bad Tolz, Bayern, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Charles Edwin and Victoria Doris Mary Hanscombe, of Woy Woy, New South Wales, Australia
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 123, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Gosford Cenotaph, Gosford NSW
Remembered: NSW Department of Education Teachers and Trainees WWII Honour Roll, Sydney NSW

At 1630 hours on the night of 4 December 1944 Lancaster PB281 took off from Metheringham detailed to bomb the railway yards at Heilbronn, Germany. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take-off and it failed to return to base. The aircraft crashed enroute to the target and six of the crew members were killed and one became a Prisoner of War.

The crew members of PB281 were:

Flight Sergeant Douglas George Allbon (428898) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Leslie Patrick Burton (436141) (Rear Gunner) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 31 January 1946
Flight Sergeant Donald Edwin Hanscombe (422174) (Air Bomber)
Flight Sergeant George Roger McCullum (433857) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Warrant Officer Neil MacDonald Menzies (424199) (Navigator)
Sergeant Henry Selwyn Sands (620716) (RAF) (Flight Engineer)
Flying Officer Harold John Thompson (410398) (Pilot)

In a later report Flight Sergeant Burton stated “the aircraft iced up, went out of control and crashed with the full crew on board between Stuttgart and Heilbronn. The aircraft burned when it crashed.”


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, 166/17/885
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line

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