MORCOMBE, Frank Keith

Service Number: 406572
Enlisted: 3 February 1941
Last Rank: Pilot Officer
Last Unit: No. 14 Squadron (RAAF)
Born: Ceduna, South Australia , 18 August 1913
Home Town: Coorow, Coorow, Western Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Farm Mechanic
Died: Accidental, Sale, Victoria, Australia, 5 October 1943, aged 30 years
Cemetery: Sale War Cemetery, Victoria
Plot B. Row B. Grave 4.
Memorials: Armadale War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Bairnsdale Royal Australian Air Force Memorial, Carnamah War Memorial, Coorow Honour Roll
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World War 2 Service

3 Feb 1941: Involvement Flight Lieutenant, 406572
3 Feb 1941: Enlisted Perth, WA
3 Feb 1941: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Flight Lieutenant, 406572
21 Jan 1942: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Pilot Officer, 406572, No. 14 Squadron (RAAF), Air War SE Asia 1941-45
Date unknown: Honoured Distinguished Flying Cross

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Biography contributed by Graham Padget

Flight Lieutenant Frank Keith Morcombe was the son of William George and Alice Morcombe; husband of Alma Dorothea Morcombe, of Armadale, Western Australia.

DFC Citation: Flight Lieutenant Morcombe was posted to No 2 Squadron on 23 July 1942, and since that date has completed many hours of operational flying against the enemy including many day and night strikes, reconnaissances, offensive and seaward patrols. As commander of “B” Flight his constant example of determination, tirelessness and courage and his efficiency as a leader have had a tremendous influence on the other personnel of the squadron.

On 4 December 1942, Flight Lieutenant Morcombe was the leader of a formation of three Hudsons on an offensive patrol in search of enemy shipping along Wetar Strait north of Timor. Despite persistent and close attacks by enemy fighters which commenced at the beginning of the Strait, he continued on down past the enemy fighter base at Dili and completed his mission.

One aircraft was damaged in the hydraulic system which caused the undercarriage to drop and so retard its speed. By skilful leadership of the formation and the use of meagre cloud cover he brought the formation back along the Strait and home to its base without further mishap. The courage and devotion to duty displayed in this episode is typical of the fighting qualities of this officer.

Flight Lieutenant Morcombe has continually volunteered to participate in the more dangerous sorties as indicated by the high proportion of strikes in the sorties in which he has participated. On one occasion he scored direct hits on a Japanese destroyer, disabling it. Flight Lieutenant Morcombe has proved himself to be a capable, enthusiastic and courageous leader whose devotion to duty has been in accordance with the highest traditions of the Service”

Accident: On 5 October, Beaufort A9-33 attempted to gain altitude when about to land on the East Sale airfield but the port engine cut out and the aeroplane swung to port and banked sharply. The pilot failed to recover the Beaufort and the port wing struck the ground, cartwheeling the aeroplane as it burst into flames, killing the instructor and pilot under instruction.

(extract courtesy of