Squadron Leader Richard Sampson Orlebar MARSHALL DFC

Service No: 402244
Born: Sydney NSW, 12 June 1918
Enlisted in the RAAF: 22 July 1940
Unit: No. 39 Squadron (RAF)
Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), 2 October 1942
Died: Air Operations: (No. 39 Squadron Beaufort aircraft DD899), off Malta, 3 March 1943, Aged 24 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Frank Rupert and Ivy Maud Marshall, of Moree, New South Wales, Australia
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 11, Column 1, Malta Memorial, Malta
Remembered: Panel 127, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Moree War Memorial Hall – World War Two Honour Rolls, Moree NSW

DFC Citation: This officer has taken part in several successful raids on enemy shipping. In June 1942, he participated in an attack on an Italian Naval force. Although his aircraft was severely damaged by anti-aircraft fire, he flew it back to base. In September 1942, he participated in an attack on a convoy of 4 merchant vessels, heavily escorted by 11 destroyers and fighter aircraft. In spite of this formidable opposition, Pilot Officer Marshall released his torpedo from close range. His aircraft was damaged by fire from enemy fighters but he evaded them and flew safely to base. Throughout he has displayed great skill and courage. (London Gazette 2 October 1942, Page 4273, Position 2)

At approximately 2355 hours on 2 March 1943 Beaufort DD899 took off from Luqa to attack shipping in the vicinity north of Cape San Vito and the aircraft failed to return. The target of 2 motor vessels accompanied by 3 DRs was located but not attacked owing to a very heavy smoke screen having been laid. Light anti-aircraft fire was experienced by other aircraft operating against the same target. The sole survivor from DD839 was Sergeant Evans who was picked up about one mile north east of Gozo and in a later statement reported “the position of the crash was 36.20N 013.50E. I believe the rest of the crew were imprisoned in the aircraft when it sank, for when I recovered consciousness and climbed into the dinghy, I saw no sign of them in the water – bearing in mind the only light was coming from pieces of burning wreckage on the sea. I heard no answer to my calls to them.” Subsequent searches revealed no trace of the missing members of the crew, and in 1946 it was recorded that they were missing lost at sea.

The crew members of DD899 were:

Sergeant L A Evans (1180231) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner) Rescued
Squadron Leader Richard Sampson Orlebar Marshall DFC (402244) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant James Parker (1072497) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner)
Pilot Officer David Hamilton Paterson (404383) (Observer)


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/27/55
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line

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