Lance Corporal ROBERT HERBERT 'Bertie' McCOMBE (photo added)

Serviceman Headstone thumbnail image Serviceman thumbnail gravemarker Serviceman thumbnail
Rank Lance Corporal
Forenames ROBERT HERBERT 'Bertie'
Surname McCOMBE (photo added)
Initials R H
Date of Birth Tuesday, 06 March 1923
Date of Death Saturday, 19 August 1944
Age 21
Nationality British
Residence or Entered Service From Unknown
Service Number 6984191
Force British Army
Service/Corps/Regiment Parachute Regiment, Army Air Corps
Unit / Ship / Battalion / Squadron 12 Parachute Battalion (6th Airborne Division)
Military Honours and Awards
Place of Burial/Commemoration PUTOT-EN-AUGE CHURCHYARD
Roll of honour
Grave/Memorial Location Row C. Grave 1.
Previous Place(s) of Burial Unknown

Additional Information




Lance Corporal ROBERT HERBERT 'Bertie' McCOMBE was killed on the 19th August 1944 serving with 12 Parachute Battalion, the family received the announcement of his death on the 26th August 1944, the same day his younger sister Edith was celebrating her 13th Birthday.


The family later received a letter from his commanding officer, stating that he had been promoted in the battlefield to Lance Corporal. His father, a World War I veteran who had lost younger brother during that war, consoled his daughter Edith telling her that such a promotion in the battlefield was very special. Records of this promotion appear to have been overlooked when his original cross grave marker was changed to the headstone he has today, and Commonwealth War Graves Commission records presently records his rank as a private.


ROBERT HERBERT 'Bertie' McCOMBE served in the Royal Armoured Corps, before transferring to the Parachute Regiment. His eldest brother Regimental Sergeant Major W. G. McCombe also served in the Second World War with the Enniskillen Fusiliers.1


Born in Glasgow on 6th MarchIn 1923, Robert Herbert 'Bertie' McCombe moved, with his family, to Whiteabbey, County Antrim in Normandthern Ireland. Today in Ypres Park Memorial Garden, in Whiteabbey, there is a tree planted in his memory along with a memorial plaque. The Tree his planted in front of the house where he lived2



Ypres Park Memorial Garden.

Ypres Park Memorial Garden.


Memorial Tree in Ypres Park Memorial Garden.


Memorial Plaque in Ypres Park Memorial Garden.




1. Additional informaiton kindly provided by Edith I. Gibson (nee McCombe), sister of Lance Corporal ROBERT HERBERT 'Bertie' McCOMBE.
2. Additional Information provided by Michael Gibson, nephew of Lance Corporal ROBERT HERBERT 'Bertie' McCOMBE.


Acknowledgements and Credits
Source of original data: Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Headstone photograph: Carl Shilleto
Cross marker photograph: Edith I. Gibson (nee McCombe), sister of Lance Corporal ROBERT HERBERT 'Bertie' McCOMBE.
Individual photograph: Edith I. Gibson (nee McCombe), sister of PrivateLance Corporal ROBERT HERBERT 'Bertie' McCOMBE.
Additional photographs provided by: Carl Shilleto and Michael Gibson, nephew of Lance Corporal ROBERT HERBERT 'Bertie' McCOMBE.
Additional information provided by: Edith I. Gibson (nee McCombe), sister of Lance Corporal ROBERT HERBERT 'Bertie' McCOMBE & Michael Gibson, nephew of Lance Corporal ROBERT HERBERT 'Bertie' McCOMBE.



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What other people have said

Sarnia, Ontario, Canada

Michael and Susanne Gibson

Seventy-three years ago this morning Uncle Bertie and 906 other servicemen paid the supreme sacrifice in Normandy to defend our freedoms. The Lord Jesus Christ said, "This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you." It is our sincere desire that Uncle Bertie and thousands others did not die in vain. May we never forget the price that was paid for our freedom by thousands in Normandy but especially by the Lord Jesus Christ.

On Saturday, August 19, 2017
Sarnia, Ontario, Canada

Susanne and Michael Gibson

May 25th, 2015 - Visited the "Ypres Park Memorial Garden - Soldiers Town". The residents of Ypres Park planted and maintain a memorial garden to commemorate those residents of the Park who were killed in WWI, WWII, and subsequent conflicts. Six flowering trees were planted in honour of six residents who were killled. Bertie McCombe's tree and plague were placed directly in front of the family's home at #28. Two trees over from Bertie's tree is a tree commemorating his best friend, Harry Taplin who died during the D-Day invasion at age 19. Between Bertie's tree and Harry's tree is Harry's brother Bobby who was killed in action March 26th, 1942. A plaque at the garden states, "We will remember them".

On Thursday, May 28, 2015
Sarnia, Ontario, Canada

Susanne and Michael Gibson

August 19th, 2014 – On behalf of our Mum and the Gibson family, We attended at Uncle Bertie’s grave site to lay a wreath on the morning of the 70th anniversary of the Battle for Putot-en-Auge. The wreath displayed the Union Jack as well as the Canadian flag representing our heritage and our current place of residence. Both Britain and Canada live in peace today because of the sacrifice of Uncle Bertie and his thirty-one comrades that lie memorialized with him in Putot-en-Auge. The church bell tolls every day reminding all that Uncle Bertie and his comrades may have fallen but we cannot allow their memory and sacrifice to be forgotten. Uncle Bertie’s headstone bears the inscription, “Rock of ages cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee.” It remains our hope and prayer that Uncle Bertie did trust in that Rock of Ages and did find his eternal rest in Him alone.

On Saturday, August 30, 2014
Sarnia, Ontario, Canada

Michael Gibson

August 19th, 2014 – In the early morning hours exactly 70 years after the Battle for Putot-en-Auge I ran the hills around Putot. Several accounts of the Battle indicated that the 12th Battalion held their position and hoped that the darkness and the mist would hold and conceal their position from the Nazi bombardment at the top of Hill 13. As I ran, the hills were shrouded in mist and it was very cold. It was possible to imagine the feelings of the troops as they prepared to engage the enemy. Now instead of the sounds of battle the hills were filled with the sounds of farm life and an eerie silence.

On Saturday, August 30, 2014
Sarnia, Ontario, Canada

Michael, Susanne, Joel, Hailee, Laura, Aedan, Clark Gibson

Bertie's last evening in White Abbey was spent in church with his little sister. Bertie requested the hymn "Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah". It is our hope that Bertie understood the meaning behind these words and that on Aug 19, 1944 he did not die on Hill 13 but landed "safe on Canaan's side". The lyrics are, "Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah, Pilgrim through this barren land. I am weak, but Thou art mighty; Hold me with Thy powerful hand. Bread of Heaven, Feed me till I want no more. Open now the crystal fountain, Whence the healing stream doth flow; Let the fire and cloudy pillar Lead me all my journey through. Strong Deliverer, Be Thou still my Strength and Shield. Lord, I trust Thy mighty power, Wondrous are Thy works of old; Thou deliver’st Thine from thralldom, Who for naught themselves had sold:Thou didst conquer, Sin, and Satan and the grave. When I tread the verge of Jordan, Bid my anxious fears subside; Death of deaths, and hell’s destruction, Land me safe on Canaan's side."

On Wednesday, June 11, 2014
São Paulo, BRAZIL

Grant George McCombe

Visited the grave of my Uncle Bertie with my Day, Mum and brother Michael back in the 1990s. Witnessed my father shedding the tears for his lost brother. First and only time I saw my Da cry. Such was the austerity and emotional charge of the moment. Thank you for putting together this valued memoriam for those that fell in the name of liberty. Like my dear Uncle Bertie from Ypres Park, Whiteabbey, Ulster, Ireland.

On Thursday, June 5, 2014
London Ontario Canada

Denise Gibson

I grew up knowing about my Uncle Bertie's sacrifice, but what I lived with was my mother's sacrifice. A part of my mother, Edith McCombe, died the day the news came. My beloved grandmother never got over the loss of her son. the young men buried in Normandy are not the only heros. The family left behind are also heroes.

On Monday, May 12, 2014
London UK but of New Zealand

Mr Michael McCombe

My father's brother and much remembered by all the NZ McCombes

On Monday, May 5, 2014