Medals to the R.F.C. and R.A.F. from the Collection Formed by the Late Squadron Leader David Haller

Date of Auction: 25th March 2014

Sold for £240

Estimate: £200 - £250

Three: Sergeant A. P. Coombe, Royal Air Force, who was killed in action in a raid on Berlin while serving as a Bomb Aimer in No. 44 Squadron in December 1943

1939-45 Star; Air Crew Europe Star; War Medal 1939-45, together with the recipient’s original Air Ministry condolence slip in the name of ‘Sergeant A. P. Coombe’, this with glue stains to reverse, the medals extremely fine (3) £200-250


Anthony Paul Coombe was born in September 1923 and, after attending school at Scunthorpe, enlisted in the Royal Air Force. Duly trained as a Bomb Aimer, he joined No. 44 (Rhodesia) Squadron, a Lancaster unit operating out of Dunholme Lodge, towards the end of 1943, and flew his first operational sortie on the night of 20-21 December, against Frankfurt - an eventful trip for Coombe owing to the fact the bomb load hung up and had to be jettisoned live by means of ‘a violent dive and pull up’.

On his next sortie, however, a strike against the “Big City” on the night of the 23rd-24th, as a member of Sergeant R. L. Hands’ crew, his Lancaster was shot down by an Me. 110 night fighter piloted by Oberleutnant Paul Zorrner - one of three bombers claimed by him that night. Coombe’s aircraft crashed near Diepholz, all of the crew being killed and, having been buried locally by the Germans on Christmas Day, were re-interred in Hannover War Cemetery after the War; sold with a file of research.