Flight Sergeant John William NEWCOMBE

Service No: 438300
Born: London, England, 15 October 1914
Enlisted in the RAAF: 20 September 1943 (at Melbourne VIC)
Unit: No. 21 Operational Training Unit (RAF), RAF Moreton-in- Marsh, Gloucestershire
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 21 Operational Training Unit Wellington aircraft BK133), Gloucestershire, 8 April 1945, Aged 30 Years
Buried: Oxford (Botley) Cemetery, Oxfordshire
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Charles F. Newcombe and Isabella Harriet Newcombe, of Reservoir, Victoria, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Highgate, London
Remembered: Panel 128, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Wellington BK133 took off from RAF Moreton-in-Marsh at 0025 hours on the night of 7/8th April 1945, for night circuits and landings and single engine approaches and overshoots. The aircraft crashed at 0055 hours, when it flew into high ground near Chipping Norton about 3 miles from the aerodrome. All the crew were killed.

The aircraft landed after one normal circuit and then took off again at 0048 hours. At 0051 hours the Captain called “practice single overshoot” and about one minute later the aircraft was spotted when flying normally at 500 to 1,000 feet., when the engines cut. The aircraft lost height immediately and crashed. At the time of the accident the weather was suitable with a cloud base of 1,600 feet. An investigation into the accident found that “during the practice single engine approach, the Pilot lost height and noticing he was getting close to high ground, he jettisoned petrol to gain height. Having done so, he then sent the normal overshoot message. The engines then failed through a fuel shortage because the Pilot had left the jettison valve open.” The Station Commander recorded that “the accident was an error of judgement by the Pilot”

The crew members of BK133 were:

Flight Sergeant Anthony George Stuart Brunskill (433799) (Navigator Air Bomber)
Flight Sergeant Everard Charles Graebner (436496) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Warrant Officer Charles Henry Harrison (12694) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant John William Newcombe (438300) (Air Bomber)
Flight Sergeant John Raymond Thomas (435357) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant John Keith Vickers (427364) (Pilot)


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, 166/29/242

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