Wartime Heritage ASSOCIATION
Remembering World War II
John William Coombs
Name: John William Coombs Rank: Able Seaman Service: Christian J. Kampmann (Canada), Canadian Merchant Navy Date of Birth: February 23, 1909 Place of Birth: Halifax, Nova Scotia Date of Death: November 3, 1942 Age: 33 Memorial: Halifax Memorial, Halifax, NS Reference: Panel 21 Commemorated on Page 116 of the Merchant Navy Book of Remembrance Displayed in the Memorial Chamber of the Peace Tower in Ottawa on March 10 and August 7 John William Coombs was the son of George William Coombs (1872- 1923) and Mabel L. (McLachlan) Coombs (1876-1940), and the brother of George N. Coombs (1910–1976), of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Florence Coombs Robertson (1905–1973), Doris Coombs, and Vera Coombs. John’s father was born in Ryde, Hampshire, on the Isle of Wight in England and working in the shipping of tobacco in Halifax. His mother was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia. When John was born, the family was living at 246 Maynard Street Extension in Halifax. By 1921, they lived at 15 Creighton Street. The date John joined the merchant fleet is unknown, but he was serving on the SS Christian J. Kampmann during the Second World War. At 2:02 am on November 3, 1942, the Christian J. Kampmann was travelling in convoy TAG-18 from the Port of Spain, Trinidad northbound for Guantanamo, Cuba, with a cargo of sugar and rum from Demerara, British Guyana. The ship was hit by two torpedoes from U-160 and sank by the stern northwest of Grenada. Seventeen crew members, including Able Seaman Coombs, and two gunners were lost. The master and seven crew members were picked up by USS Lea (DD-118), a Wickes-class destroyer and transferred to USS PC-495, a submarine chaser, and landed at Curaçao. Able Seaman John William Coombs was lost at sea with no known grave and is remembered on the Halifax Memorial in Point Pleasant Park, Halifax, Nova Scotia. He is also remembered on the family marker at the Camp Hill Cemetery in Halifax. Also lost were Muir Watson Blackmoor, and Justin Bishop of Nova Scotia.
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