McCombe, George Marshall (Marshall)
No. 104492, 78 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Killed on active service on Saturday 8 November 1941 (aged 25)
Gaasterland (Nijemirdum) General Cemetery, Friesland, Netherlands (Plot 1 Row A Grave 4)
Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Comgall’s)
Royal Belfast Academical Institution (RBAI)
George Marshall McCombe was born on 8 March 1916 at 1 Beeches, Cliftonville Road, Belfast and he was the only surviving son of George John Marshall McCombe and Mary McCombe (nee Osborne) who later lived in Bangor at 35 Moira Drive and, before that, at 8 Donaghadee Road. Before moving to Bangor, the McCombe family lived in Belfast at 17 Delhi Street, at 40 College Park Avenue and Cliftonville Road. George John Marshall McCombe was the Chief Clerk in Belfast Tramways Department and he and Mary Osborne were married on 12 June 1906 in Cliftonville Presbyterian Church, Belfast. They had four children:
John Osborne (Jackie, born 10 April 1907 at 3 Clifton Terrace, Belfast; died of scarlet fever 8 January 1913 at 8 Donaghadee Road, Bangor aged 5½ years and buried in Grave E3 63, Dundonald Cemetery)
Sarah Elizabeth (born 29 July 1908 at 17 Delhi Drive, Belfast; died 31 October 1999)
Isabella (born 30 December 1910 at 17 Delhi Drive, Belfast; died 10 April 1989)
George Marshall (born 8 March 1916 at 1 Beeches, Cliftonville Road, Belfast)
Marshall McCombe attended the Royal Belfast Academical Institution (RBAI) from 1928 until 1934 where he excelled at rugby and athletics. He won medals in a range of athletics disciplines and held the school record for the long jump – 21 feet 8 inches. He played rugby for the school and later for Instonians and Ulster. He also had an international trial.
An accountant by profession, Marshall McCombe was articled to the firm Messrs Martin Shaw, Leslie, and Shaw (Chartered Accountants), Belfast. Marshall McCombe and Eileen Doyle BA were married on 21 October 1941 in Castlerock Presbyterian Church and she was living at Cliftonville, Castlerock, Co. Londonderry when she received the news of Marshall’s death. They had been married for less than three weeks.
Marshall McCombe joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve before the outbreak of war and did his training at Cranwell RAF College. During the Second World War, Pilot Officer George Marshall McCombe (No. 104492) served with the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve in 78 Squadron, Bomber Command and he died when his plane was shot down by a German night fighter at 6.30 am on 8 November 1941 between Oudemirdum and Nijemirdum in Holland. He was one of a crew of five aboard an Armstrong Whitworth Whitley Bomber Mark V (Z6948) that took off from RAF Croft (Neasham) Airfield in Yorkshire at 10.31 pm on 7 November 1941 and they were returning after bombing Berlin when their aircraft was shot down. The other four crew members who died that morning were:
- Sergeant John William Bell (aged 21) from Carshalton, Surrey
- Sergeant Gilbert T. Webb (aged 25) from Wheeler End, Buckinghamshire
- Sergeant Donald Cameron (aged 29) from Dunoon, Argyllshire
- Sergeant Raymond Boucher (aged 20) from Sheffield
Pilot Officer George Marshall McCombe (No. 104492) was 25 when he was killed, and he was buried in Gaasterland (Nijemirdum) General Cemetery, Friesland, Netherlands. There is an inscription on his CWGC headstone:
IN PROUD AND LOVING MEMORY
OF A DEAR SON
THE PATH OF DUTY IS
THE WAY TO GLORY
Pilot Officer George Marshall McCombe (No. 104492) is commemorated in Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Comgall’s) and in RBAI. After Marshall McCombe died, his parents lived at Inishowen, Greenisland and at 4 Mourneview Terrace, Newry Road, Banbridge. Marshall McCombe’s father, George John Marshall McCombe, died on 22 December 1953 (aged 80) and his mother, Mary McCombe, died on 4 January 1964 (aged 80). They were buried in Dundonald Cemetery in the same grave as their son John Osborne McCombe.