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Bernard Coombes MBE: RAF engineer and City fan

PUBLISHED: 13:57 12 January 2011

Bernard Coombes, MBE.

An aircraft engineer with the Royal Air Force, Bernard Coombes, who has died aged 81 at the Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital, was made MBE for his decades of exemplary service.

After retiring after almost 40 years, he made a home at Drayton, near Norwich, and became an enthusiastic supporter of the Canaries.

Shortly after retirement and in failing health, he had a liver transplant at Addenbroke’s Hospital, Cambridge in 1988. The successful operation was to give him a further 22 years of active retirement.

A watchmaker’s son, he joined the Royal Air Force as an aircraft apprentice and was posted to the King’s Flight at RAF Benson in Oxfordshire, where he serviced Viking aircraft. He received the Coronation Medal in 1953 and was posted to west Germany on the first of many tours, servicing Vampire and Sabre aircraft.

He married his childhood sweetheart, Pamela, who died last year just two months before their 60th wedding anniversary.

In his career, postings included several tours at RAF Marham, when he was made an MBE in 1977. He held several service medals.

At Marham, he worked on Victor tankers between 1968 and 1971 for 55 Squadron, returning three years later for a tour with 214 Squadron.

He decided to live in Norfolk, partly because his love of the county and also became three of his four sons had already settled there.

A keen sports fan, he became a City season ticket holder in the Norwich and Peterborough Stand for many years. He particularly enjoyed the 1985 Milk Cup Final victory against Sunderland at Wembley in 1985.

He died five days after his 81st birthday. He leaves four sons, eight grandchildren and a great grandson, Noah.

A funeral service will be held at St Faith’s Crematorium on Thursday, January 20 at 2.45pm.

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