Dambuster of the Day No. 100: Ronald Marsden

Marsden PH

Pic: Peter Humphries

Sgt R Marsden
Flight engineer

Lancaster serial number: ED910/G

Call sign: AJ-C

Third wave. Crashed on outward flight.

Ronald Marsden was born on 8 May 1920 in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, one of the five children of William and Emily Marsden. The family lived in Stockton, where he went to school. He joined the RAF in 1935 as a young apprentice at the No 1 School of Technical Training in Halton.

He then served in ground crew in a number of establishments. When the new trade of flight engineers was established, Marsden was quick to apply and was sent to the No 4 School of Technical Training in St Athan.

He qualified as a flight engineer in September 1942, and was posted to a conversion unit to join a crew. It would seem that he met up with Bill Ottley and his colleagues there. Marsden went on to fly with Ottley on all the 20 operations he completed in 207 Squadron, so he is unlikely to have hesitated when offered a posting to the new 617 Squadron. His crewmate Jack Guterman, who was always interested in his colleagues’ intellectual life, described Marsden as being ‘philosophical’ and owning a book on anthropology.

Unfortunately, the crew did not complete their first operation in 617 Squadron, and six of them died when they were shot down near Hamm on 17 May 1943. Ronald Marsden and his comrades were originally buried in by the Germans in Hamm, but were reinterred after the war in Reichswald Forest War Cemetery.

More about Marsden online:
Entry at Commonwealth War Graves Commission

KIA 17.05.43

Rank and decorations as of 16 May 1943.
Richard Morris, Guy Gibson, Penguin 1995
John Sweetman, The Dambusters Raid, Cassell 2002

The information above has been taken from the books and online sources listed above, and other online material. Apologies for any errors or omissions. Please add any corrections or links to further information in the comments section below.

Further information about Ronald Marsden and the other 132 men who flew on the Dams Raid can be found in my book The Complete Dambusters, published by History Press in 2018.