— Aerial Warfare —

John Graham McComb

Pilot Officer John Graham McComb from Belfast, Co. Antrim served in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. His Lancaster bomber was shot down over Berlin.

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The Berlin 1939-1945 Cemetery in Charlottenburg, Berlin is run by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Nineteen Ulster men killed during World War Two are buried in this cemetery. Photo taken on 24th October 2017.

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Scott Edgar – World War Two Northern Ireland.

Pilot Officer John Graham McComb (161589) served in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve during World War Two. He flew with RAF 9 Squadron at his time of death.

Born in Belfast, Co. Antrim, he was the son of Samuel McComb and Elizabeth Ann McComb (née Young) from the Shankill District, Belfast, Co. Antrim. Samuel and Elizabeth married on 21st April 1919 at Townsend Street Presbyterian Church.

Samuel was a fitter. His father James McComb, a labourer. Elizabeth or Liza Young’s father was Albert Young, a dealer from Downpatrick, Co. Down. Robert Hamilton and Maggie Hamilton were witnesses to the ceremony.

McComb’s name featured in The Gazette as he gained promotion to Flight Sergeant on 12th October 1943.

John died on 18th November 1943. He was the second pilot on an Avro Lancaster Bomber conducting a night raid over Berlin.

John Graham McComb

Grave of Pilot Officer John Graham McComb, RAF 9 Squadron in the 1939-1945 Cemetery, Charlottenburg, Berlin, Germany. Photo taken on 24th October 2017.

Lancaster DV284 Crash

On 18th November 1943, Lancaster Mk III DV294 SW-G “G for George” took off at 1725hrs. The plane departed for Germany from RAF Bardney in Lincolnshire. The base at Bardney heard nothing from DV284 after take off and it failed to return to base.

After the war, a report emerged of the Lancaster’s crash, shot down by anti-aircraft guns. At around 2153hrs, flak struck the plane. It came down around 1km south-west of Burgwerben and 2km north of Weissenfels, a town 35 km south west of Leipzig.

Lancaster Bomber at RAF Bardney

Imperial War Museum Photo: CH 10405 (Part of the Air Ministry Second World War Official Collection). An Avro Lancaster B Mark III of RAF 9 Squadron taking off at RAF Bardney, Lincolnshire, for a raid on Germany. Photo taken by Royal Air Force Official Photographer.

Remembering John Graham McComb

As well as Pilot Officer John Graham McComb, the following men lost their lives on board Lancaster DV284 SW-G.

  • Pilot Officer Gordon Allan Graham (J/18225) RCAF – Pilot.
  • Sergeant Walter George Statham (1536256) RAF – Flight Engineer.
  • Flying Officer Duncan MacDonald (139297) RAF – Navigator.
  • Sergeant Ronald McKenzie Innes (1551722) RAF – Bomb Aimer.
  • Sergeant Arthur Fenwick Williamson (1036493) RAF – Wireless Operator/Air Gunner.
  • Flight Sergeant Hector Ferdinand Altus (416819) RAAF – Mid Upper Gunner.
  • Sergeant Kenneth Mellor (1230793) RAF – Rear Gunner.

Sergeant John Graham McComb’s grave is in Section 9, Row F, Plot 18-25 of the 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Charlottenburg, Berlin, Germany.

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