Battle of Britain London Monument – F/O R Marples

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Privacy Statement The Airmen’s Stories – F/O R Marples


Roy Marples, of Manchester, was born in Muswell Hill, London in 1920 and educated at Stockport Grammar School and 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.

In May 1940 Marples was with 616 Squadron at Rochford. 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, 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).

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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