William James (Jim) Morcombe

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William James (Jim) Morcombe
Morcombe William James.jpg
1651 Conversion Course Morcombe second row, second from left
Personal Information
Date of Birth 10 Jan 1923
Place of Birth Ceduna, South Australia
Death 18 Nov 1943
Place of Death France
Age at Enlistment 18 years, 7 months
Occupation Clerk
Religion Church of England
Address Armadale, Western Australia
Next of Kin Father , Mr Phillip Thomas Morcombe
Military Information
Reg Number 415264
Date of Enlistment 17 Aug 1941
Rank Pilot Officer
Unit/Formation No. 622 Squadron RAF
Post War Details
Fate Killed in Aerial battle, France
Australian War Memorial Australian War Memorial
Medals 1939-45 Star
Air Crew Europe Star
War Medal 1939-45
Australian Service Medal 1939-45

Pre War

Jim had worked as a clerk for Elder Smith & Co Ltd.

War Service

Enlisted as an Aircraftsman Level 2, and mustered as Aircrew V on 17 Aug 1941 at No. 4 Recruiting Centre, Perth. On 7 Oct 1941 following basic training he was remustered as Aircrew V (Pilot) at No. 5 Initial Training School RAAF at Pearce. Progressing to the No. 9 Elementary Flying Training School RAAF at Cunderdin, he was again successful and was re-mustered on 8 Nov 1941 as Aircrew II (Pilot). Further training followed with a posting to No. 4 Service Flying Training School RAAF in Geraldton on 9 Feb 1942, and on 28 May 1942 he was again re-mustered, this time as Airman Pilot, having won his Flying Badge on 14 Apr 1942.

Posted to No. 5 Embarkation Depot RAAF, Perth on 3 Jun 1942, they moved him on to the No. 2 Embarkation Depot RAAF at Bradfield Park, Sydney on 26 Jun 1942. On 24 Aug 1942 Jim embarked in Sydney, and as he did not arrive in the UK until 18 Nov 1942, it is likely that he travelled via the US or Canada. Initially held by the No. 3 Personnel Reception Centre RAF on the south coast of England, he was sent first to the No. 15 Advanced Flying Refresher Unit RAF on 15 Mar 1943, and then No. 26 Operational Training Unit RAF on 4 May 1943. On 12 Aug 1943 he was posted to the No. 1651 Conversion Unit RAF to become familiar with the Short Stirling heavy bomber.

Finally on 10 Sep 1943 he reached No. 622 Squadron RAF at Mildenhall in Suffolk. This was a new Squadron, only created on 10 Aug 1943. It was equipped with Stirling Mk III bombers. Jim was appointed to the commissioned rank of Pilot Officer on probation on 23 Oct 1943. On the evening of 18 Nov 1943 Jim and his crew were participating in a mission to bomb Mannheim in Germany. His aircraft was shot down by Helmut Bergmann, a German night fighter ace who claimed 36 victims from 135 combat missions.[1]

  • Morcombe William J.jpg
  • Morcombe William J headstone.jpg

Lachalade Churchyard, Lachalade, Lorraine, France Collective Grave 2-4. Lachalade is between Reims and Verdun, north east of Paris. Photos from accessed 23 Nov 2019.

"Vale Pilot Officer W.J. Morcombe. Having been missing since November 18. 1943, it has now been officially announced that P.O. William James Morcombe of Waddy Forrest, is presumed dead. The only son of Mr Phil. and Mrs Stella Morcombe, formerly of Waddy Forest, the late P.O. Morcombe was well and favourably known throughout the Coorow and Waddy Forest district. he is the second member of his highly respected family to pay the supreme sacrifice, the other being his cousin Flt-Lieut. Keith Morcombe (D.F.C.). At the time of his death, the late "Jim" Morcombe was aged 21 years. The sympathy of the whole district goes out to his sorrowing father, mother, and sister Helen, who are left to face this irretrievable loss. At such times as these, mere words cannot express the sorrow which s felt at the loss of these gallant young men, but those who are near and dear to them, will always be able to treasure the memory that they died nobly doing their duty to their country. "Jim" William James Morcombe, Born 10 January 1923 in Ceduna, South Australia, son of Philip Thomas MORCOMBE and Stella Alison SAGE, left South Australia with his mother in 1923 to join his father on Minaru Farm in Waddy Forest, Western Australia. Educated at the one teacher Waddy Well State School in Waddy Forest, and then Wesley College in South Perth...………….Attended Muresk Agricultural College - obtained a Diploma in Agriculture at the conclusion of his studies in 1939. After leaving Muresk worked for Elder Smith & Co Ltd, however, was expected to eventually take over his father's Minaru Farm."[2]


  2. North Midland Times newspaper, Friday 4 August 1944

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