LEST WE FORGET

Flying Officer Richard Herbert HOLCOMBE

Service No: 402506
Born: Newton NSW, 3 June 1918
Enlisted in the RAAF: 16 September 1940
Unit: No. 230 Squadron (RAF), Aboukir, Egypt
Died: Air Operations: (No. 230 Squadron Sunderland aircraft N9209), Mediterranean, 1 January 1943, Aged 24 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of George Richard and Alma Annie Holcombe, of Dulwich Hill, New South Wales, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Dulwich Hill NSW
Remembered: Column 277, Alamein Memorial, Egypt
Remembered: Panel 124, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Sunderland N9209 of 230 Squadron was detailed to carry out a ten hour anti-submarine patrol in protection of a convoy between Alexandria and Port Said. The aircraft left Alexandria at 1600 hours on 1 January 1943. Messages were received from the aircraft until 1730 hours and at 2045 hours it was reported in the vicinity of Port Said. Nothing further was heard from the aircraft from 0230 hours to 0830 hours on 2 January 1943. Wreckage was discovered off Port Said and at 1100 hours; the remains of the Captain were identified but could not be recovered from the sea. The cause of the accident is not known, but it is assumed that the aircraft dived to investigate a suspicious spot, and failing to pull out in time crashed into the sea.

The crew members of N9209 were:

Corporal John Barnard (654615) (RAF) (Fitter IIE/Air Gunner)
Sergeant Vernon Frederick Butcher (1315246) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner)
Flying Officer Lawrence Samuel Clayton (400012) (Third Pilot)
Sergeant Augustus George Daniels (1310216) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner)
Sergeant William Henry Darge (979990) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner)
Sergeant Michael James Dean (R/72371) (RCAF) (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner)
Flying Officer Richard Herbert Holcombe (402506) (Pilot)
Flying Officer Russell William Meaton (406457) (Second Pilot)
Corporal Ernest Attwood James Nicholas (900223) (RAFVR) (Fitter 2E/Air Gunner)
Leading Aircraftman Walter Leslie Purkiss (992579) (RAFVR) (Radio Mechanic)
Leading Aircraftman Jack Savidge (615314) (RAF) (Fitter MA/Air Gunner)
Sergeant Leslie John Webber (934282) (RAFVR) (Observer)

References:

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 Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/18/3