Interview with Clive Coombes


Interview with Clive Coombes


Clive Coombes grew up on Royal Air Force stations, eventually joining and serving for 37 years before retiring in 2014. During this time, he served across the globe, including in Australia and Germany, as a ground branch officer. Clive outlines his father’s and uncle’s service, as well as his own.

His uncle, was born in Llandrindod, Wales and joined the Royal Air Force in either 1934 or 1935, becoming a pilot and serving in Iraq before returning to Great Britain and serving in the Second World War. Originally flying Blenheims, Jack was shot down and killed on the 10 January 1940 flying a mission for 109 Squadron. Whilst Jack did not serve long within the Second World War, Clive retains a large amount of information pertaining to his service, including his logbook and a number of poems sent to Clive’s Aunt.

Born in Burking Head, his father Horace 'Ken' Coombes joined the Royal Air Force in 1942 as a pilot, training in Alabama and Florida, before returning in 1943. His first posting was to the 582 Squadron at RAF Little Staughton, flying Pathfinder missions over Dusseldorf and the Ruhr, amongst others. He was eventually moved to 626 Squadron at RAF Wickemby. Throughout his service, Clive’s father flew Lancasters, Spitfires, Hurricanes, Mosquitoes and Wellingtons. After flying on Operation Manna, he was decommissioned and reenlisted soon after as instructor, later becoming an air traffic controller and a reconnaissance flyer, flying Meteors and Vampires at RAF Shawbury. Following his retirement in 1977, Clive recalls his father refusing to mention his opinion on the view of Bomber Command following the war. Clive wishes that Bomber Command would receive more recognition, especially through the efforts of the IBCC and Runnymede Air Forces Memorial.



IBCC Digital Archive





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00:37:09 audio recording




ACoombesDC200306, PCoombesHS2043

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James Sheach, “Interview with Clive Coombes,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed April 14, 2021,

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