An Old Coathamian – Not Forgotten


No. 808380 Flight Sergeant, Auxiliary Air Force;
No. 38 Squadron, Royal Air Force.

Died 20 November 1941, aged 23 years.

Commemorated on the Air Forces Panels of the
Alamein Memorial, Egypt, column 242.

No. 38 Squadron, part of RAF Bomber Command, was stationed in Egypt with its Vickers Wellington bombers at the time of Flight Sergeant Combes’s death. It flew bombing raids on German and Italian bases in North Africa, Italy and the Balkans. How Flight Sergeant Combes met his death is at present unknown.

The Air Force Panels of the Alamein Memorial record the names of over 3,000 British and Commonwealth airmen, Flight Sergeant Combes among them, who died in the campaigns in North Africa and the Middle East and who have no known grave.

Eric Combes was the son of Edward and Caroline Agnes Combes. He joined Coatham School in April 1930 as a boarder in School House, at the same time as Beacham, (q.v.). He left school in July 1935. In 1940 he was on the first published list of Old Coathamians in H.M. Forces, and his promotion to Sergeant was noted in July of that year. His father died in February 1941, nine months before Eric lost his own life. His mother was living in Chichester, her probable home town, at the time of his death. He was first recorded on the School’s Roll of Honour in July 1942.