View Full Version : WO Harold Arthur CORBIN - No.248 Squadron - CGM (Flying) - recommendation and bio.

10th April 2022, 03:29
CORBIN, Harold Arthur, Warrant Officer (1295151) – No.248 Squadron – Conspicuous Gallantry Medal (Flying) – awarded as per London Gazette dated 17 October 1944. The following citation was published in the Gazette.

This officer has taken part in many sorties, several of them being attacks on enemy shipping. On these operations many vessels of varying classes have been successfully attacked despite heavy enemy opposition. Throughout, Warrant Officer Corbin has displayed a high degree of skill, courage and determination

Sold at auction by Spink, 19 November 2009. Catalogue entry transcribed by Huguette Mondor Oates included biographical details. The recommendation, dated 24.8.1944, stated

‘Warrant Officer Corbin has carried out 25 operational sorties since joining this Squadron including six shipping strikes against enemy shipping. He has always been eager to engage the enemy, and has displayed outstanding courage, skill and determination in carrying out his attacks. In spite of three very trying experiences, his confidence and determination remain unshaken.

“On the 29th June, 1944, he took part in a shipping strike near Ille de Croix and although his aircraft was hit in the port wing, he brought it safely back to base.

“On the 30th June 1944, he took part in a shipping strike at Concarneau and damaged an “M” Class Minesweeper. His aircraft was severely damaged and it became necessary to feather one engine. He brought the aircraft safely back to base and made an excellent landing.

“On 27th July 1944, W/O Corbin was flying one of eight aircraft detailed to carry out a shipping reconnaissance of the French Coast. A convoy of eight escort vessels was sighted off the mouth of the Loire, and the order was given to attack. During the attack, his aircraft was hit in the starboard engine and nacelle, the starboard side of the cockpit, and starboard radiator, the starboard wheel, the petrol cooler and all starboard tanks. W/O Corbin immediately feathered the starboard aircrew and flew the aircraft back to base where he made a skillful landing on one engine and with one wheel punctured.

“Again, on the 14th August, 1944, he took part in a shipping strike in the Gironde. In spite of heavy and aircraft fire from both ships and land batteries, he attacked and damaged a Seetier Destroyer. His aircraft was hit in both outer tanks by heavy flak. The port inner tank was pierced and all the fuel lost. One shell entered through the floor of the fuselage and wrecked the I.F.F. and Gee. The port engine was severely damaged and the starboard engine also hit. The port engine had to be feathered immediately. Warrant Officer Corbin set course for Vannes airfield with fuel streaming from his tanks, without any means of ‘homing’ with the port engine completely useless and the starboard engine damaged. To add to his many difficulties, the batteries at Ille de Re opened fire with heavy and accurate flak.

“When he crossed the coast near Vannes, it was too dark for him to be able to locate the airfield which in any case has no flying facilities. He then flew overland and climbed slowly to 4,000 feet. He gave the order to abandon aircraft by parachute at this height and jumped after his Observer was clear. Both made successful landings, and after spending the night under a hedge, contacted the American Forces who arranged transport back to this country.

‘Warrant Officer Corbin has not only acted with determination and courage, but he has also shown a*mazing skill in flying such badly damaged aircraft on three different occasions.

‘I cannot too strongly recommend this Warrant Officer for the immediate award of the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal.’ Station Commander’s Remarks: ‘Warrant Officer Corbin has shown great skill and tenacity in the face of heavy enemy opposition, and I consider this recommendation well deserved’.

Air Officer Commanding’s Remarks: “W/O Corbin has displayed tenacity, courage and determination second to none. On four separate occasions, he has pressed home his attack so closely that his aircraft has come back in a crippled state, needing great skill and airmanship to make a safe return. For these very gallant efforts, I strongly recommend him for an immediate award of the C.G.M”.

Flying Officer Harold Arthur Corbin, C.G.M., born 1923; Sergeant Air Defence Cadet Corp, 1938-40; joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, November 1940, undertook Pilot Training at U.S. Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida; received his “Wings”, April, 1942; Flight Sergeant November 1942; whilst taking conversion courses on Oxfords, Blenheims and Beaufighters, Corbin crashed his unarmed Beaufighter near Fez, 7.5.1943, after being chased over the Bay of Biscay by Ju88’s; both he and his Observer (J.L. Rawlinson) were injured with the latter being invalided out of the service; posted 235 Squadron, Coastal Command (Beaufighters), Port Angelo, Northern Ireland, February 1944, and flew as Pilot in four operational sorties with the squadron before being posted Warrant Officer 248 Squadron (Mosquitoes), Portreath, April 1944; Corbin flew as pilot in 38 operational sorties with the squadron including: 6.6.1944 ‘Ops. D-Day A/A Combat patrol (Ushant) saw 2 88’s’; 10.6.1944 ‘Ops A/A patrol (Ushant) attacked + sunk Launch’; 29.6.1944 ‘Ops. A/S Strike.Il De Gras [sic]. Hits in Port Wing’; 30.6.1944; ‘Ops. A/S Strike. Concarneau. Attacked P/V Hit by flak, home on one engine; 27.7.1944 ‘Strike Belle Ille [sic]. Home on One’; 9.8.1944 ‘Recco + Strike in Benodet. 4 M/S attacked and hit’; 14.8.1944 ‘Strike. Gironde Estuary. Attacked “Seitier” [sic] Dr. received severe damage from flak. Staggered to 4,000 Over Northern France and baled out’, both Corbin and his observer, Maurice Webb, were decorated for their gallantry upon their return, ‘Bailed out over Britanny after severe damage attacking naval ships at Bordeaux. Both Maurice and I evaded capture and returned to Ops in Cornwall. I was given the C.G.M. and Maurice the D.F.M.’ (typed service record included with the lot refers);

On their return to the UK both Corbin and Webb moved with the squadron to Banff, Scotland, to attack German shipping in Norwegian waters, operational sorties included: 14.9.1944 ‘Strike. Attacked small convoy off Kristiansund’; 18.9.1944 ‘A/S Patrol. Attacked and straddled U/boat with D.C.’s U/Boat confirmed U 867 (Captain V. Muchlendahl) sunk, by Admiralty’; 15.10.1944 ‘Strike! 1 tanker, 1 T.T.A. sunk west of Christiansand [sic] and 3 attacks’; 19.10.1944 ‘Strike! 1 barge, 2 T.T.A. attacked. Martin + Ramsay missing’; 21.10.1944 ‘Strike. 2 large M/V’s, 1 T.T.A. Attacked +set on fire, in Haugesund Harbour’; 13.12.1944 ‘Strike! 5000 Ton M/V + EV.’s and 26.12.1944 “Strike! 2 M/V’s left on fire. Meet S.E.F.’s Crash & land at base on one engine’; commissioned Flying Officer November 1944; posted 278 (Air/Sea Rescue) Squadron (Walrus), Thorney Island, April 1945; posted to SHAEF Communications Flight, (Dominies) Copenhagen, Denmark, June 1945; during his time with the latter one of the images included with the lot is annotated, ’20.8.1945, Photo taken on Dr. Best’s yacht on the sound between Denmark + Sweden. He was a Nazi Gauleiter. We took over his house as well, “Pas Villa” at Dragor, near Copenhagen’. Corbin was presented with his C.G.M. by H.M. the King at Buckingham Palace, 20.2.1946, and was demobilized May 1956.