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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. A E Marshall


Alfred Ernest Marshall of Hitchin, Hertfordshire was born in Portsmouth in 1915, the son of Alfred Ernest and Hilda Beatrice Marshall.

He was educated at Worcester Royal Grammar School. He joined the RAF in January 1931 as an Aircraft Apprentice and passed out in December 1933. He later applied for pilot training and was selected.

He married Beatrice Mary Hagel in October 1938 in Sunderland, a son was born in September 1939.

He arrived at 6 OTU Sutton Bridge in late April 1940. After converting to Hurricanes Marshall joined 73 Squadron in France on 13th May. He shared a He111 on the 19th and claimed a Do17 destroyed on 11th June. The squadron was withdrawn to Church Fenton on the 18th.



Above: Marshall and his wife Beatrice outside Buckingham Palace, presumably after the award of his DFC.

Marshall probably destroyed a Me110 on 7th September but his Hurricane, P3863, was severely damaged in the action and he made a forced-landing near Dammerwick Farm, Burnham in Essex after his engine failed. He was slightly injured.

In early November 1940 73 Squadron was posted to the Middle East. It sailed on HMS Furious and flew off at Takoradi on the 29th. It then flew in easy stages to Heliopolis via Lagos, Accra, Kano, Maidugari, Khartoum, Wadi Haifa and Abu Sueir. During December the pilots were attached to 274 Squadron in the Western Desert. Marshall shot down two SM79s on 16th December on an offensive patrol over Bardia.

On 3rd January 1941 Marshall found five SM79s bombing HMS Terror nine miles north-east of Bardia. He shot two down, forced a third to crash-land in the sea and damaged a fourth. His ammunition was then all gone. The same afternoon, he joined the CO and F/O JE Storrar in destroying eight enemy aircraft on a landing ground. On 5th January Marshall shot down a SM79, on 5th February he again joined the CO and Storrar in destroying another eight enemy aircraft on the ground, this time at Benina.



On 9th April Marshall claimed a Ju87 destroyed and a Fiat G50 probably destroyed, on the 11th and 22nd two G50s destroyed and on the 23rd a Ju87 and a Me109 destroyed. After this engagement, he landed to refuel and was shot up on the ground and wounded.

Marshall left the squadron in May and was awarded the DFM (gazetted 6th June 1941). Commissioned in August 1941, he returned to operations in April 1942, joining 250 Squadron at Sidi Heneish. On 26th June he shared a Me109, on 5th July he destroyed a Me109, on the 8th a Ju87, on the 19th a Ju52 and damaged a Ju87 and on the 20th damaged a Ju88 on the ground.

Marshall finished his second tour on 1st August 1942 and was posted to 51 OTU Cranfield to instruct.

He was awarded the DFC (gazetted 6th October 1942).

He remained there until July 1944 when he joined 25 Squadron at Coltishall. He shot down at least one V1 and during the night of 6th/7th October 1944 he destroyed a He111 over the North Sea. The aircraft was equipped to launch V1s.

On 27th November 1944 Mosquito NF30 MT472 was aloft from Castle Camps on an air test. In a steep dive the aircraft was seen to break up in the air. Marshall and his radar operator F/O CA Allen were killed.

Marshall is buried in Hitchin Cemetery.







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