A R McComb (1892-?)

A R McComb on 3 May 1938

Born in 1892, Arthur Rowland McComb was a surveyor in Queensland before joining the A.I.F. in 1915. He saw action as a stretcher bearer at Gallipoli, and later served in Egypt and France where he was mentioned in despatches. He was commissioned in France and in 1917 transferred from the engineers to the Australian Flying Corps, becoming a flying instructor in the United Kingdom. After the war McComb returned to Australia and obtained Commercial Pilot's Licence No 264. Again working as a surveyor, in 1919 he was responsible for the selection and surveying of proposed landing grounds from Cootamundra, NSW, to Longreach, QLD, for the England to Australia air race.

He joined the civil aviation administration in 1929 as District Superintendent for New South Wales. Two years later he was promoted to Superintendent of Aerodromes and in 1934 went to New Guinea to establish civil aviation administration in the Territory. During 1935 he was acting Controller of Civil Aviation for the Commonwealth and a year later became Controller of Ground Organisation.

In 1937 A R McComb played an important part in the selection of flying boat bases and facilities on the Sydney-Singapore section of the Australia to England air route, and that year went to the United Kingdom and the Netherlands East Indies to arrange details of ground organisation for the Empire Flying Boat Services. In 1940 he was appointed Chief Inspector of Ground Organisation for the Department.

When the Provisional International Civil Aviation Organisation (P.I.C.A.O.) was set up to facilitate the post-war development of international aviation, A R McComb went to Montreal, Canada, to represent Australia on the Council of the new organisation. He was for two years Chairman of P.I.C.A.O.’s Air Navigation Committee, which framed international standards for technical aspects of air navigation.

P.I.C.A.O. was replaced by the International Civil Aviation Organisation and in 1947 A R McComb represented Australia at an international aviation conference at Geneva. On his return to Australia he was granted three years’ leave from the Public Service to accept the post of Deputy Secretary-General of the new International Civil Aviation Organisation and in this post was responsible for the co-ordination of the work of I.C.A.O’s four main bureaux. He returned to Australia from Montreal in 1951 and took up duties as Regional Director of Civil Aviation for Victoria and Tasmania having been appointed to the post while abroad.

Arthur McComb retired from the Department of Civil Aviation in July 1957.

(Photo: CAHS collection)

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