Pic: Peter Humphries
Sgt R Marsden
Lancaster serial number: ED910/G
Call sign: AJ-C
Third wave. Crashed on outward flight.
Ronald Marsden was born in Redcar, Yorkshire, in 1920, one of the five children of William and Emily Marsden. He went to school in Stockton and joined the RAF in 1935 as an apprentice at the School of Technical Training in Halton.
He then served in ground crew in a number of establishments. In 1942, a policy change meant that a new trade of flight engineers was established to fly in heavy bombers instead of second pilots, and Marsden was quick to apply for the specialist training at No 4 School of Technical Training in St Athans, Glamorgan.
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, Thomas Johnston, Jack Guterman and Fred Tees there, as they were all posted together to 207 Squadron from 1660 Conversion Unit on 12 November 1942. Their future crewmates Harry Strange and Jack Barrett were also posted from the same conversion unit to 207 Squadron within a few days.
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.
Unfortunately, the crew did not complete their first operation, 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
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.