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The Airmen's Stories - F/O R Marples


Roy Marples, of Manchester, was born in Muswell Hill, London on 22nd January 1920, the son of Percy Salisbury Marples and Elizabeth Marie Louise Marples (nee Slinn).

He was educated at Stockport Grammar School from 1928 to 1935, where he was in South House and became School Swimming Champion.

He went on to Manchester University. He joined the RAF on a short service commission in January 1938 and was posted to 8 FTS, Montrose on 9th April, going on to 19 Squadron at Duxford on 29th October.

Marples was detached from 19 Squadron to RAF Manston on 16th July 1939 for a parachute course. He joined 610 Squadron at Hooton Park from 19 Squadron on 8th September and moved to 616 Squadron at Leconfield on 20th December.

Over Dunkirk on 1st June he damaged a He111. On the 26th he shot down a He111 off Flamborough Head and on 15th August he probably destroyed a Ju88 and shared two others.

He was shot down on the 26th in Spitfire R6758, force-landing near Adisham and being admitted to Kent and Canterbury Hospital with cannon shell splinter wounds in the leg. He returned to duty on 7th November.



On 5th May 1941 Marples damaged a Ju88, on 22nd June he destroyed a Me109 and on the 26th damaged another. In July he went to 41 Squadron at Merston as a Flight Commander. On 9th August he probably destroyed a Me109, shared another on the 12th, on the 21st probably destroyed another and on 18th September shared a Junkers W34 off Ostend. He was posted away later in the month to rest and was awarded the DFC (gazetted 17th October 1941).

He married Kathleen Gladys Victoria Brookes in Cambridge in October 1941.

Marples joined 127 Squadron in the Western Desert on 9th June 1942 as a Flight Commander. He shared a Me109 on 8th July and was given command of 238 Squadron on 20th July. He probably destroyed a Ju87 on 30th October and then took command of 145 Squadron in the Desert on 25th November.

Marples was awarded a Bar to the DFC (gazetted 5th January 1943). He shot down a Mc202 on 12th January 1943. After this action his own engine failed and he ditched on the sea. Two soldiers swam out from shore and helped him to land. He was posted away from 145 on 26th January 1943.

In April 1944 Marples was leading 145 Wing at Merston, made up of 329, 340 and 341 Free French Squadrons. He was killed on 26th April in Spitfire IX MK371 when he collided with a pilot of 329 over Washington, Sussex.

He was 24 years old and is buried in Chichester Cemetery.








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