Vernon Wallace Marsh
From Our Contribution
Vern Marsh in Bunbury (image from Rex Marsh)
Taken from 1934 Armadale AFL team photo
|Date of Birth||26 Aug 1916|
|Place of Birth||Kelmscott, Western Australia|
|Death||16 Mar 2010, aged 93|
|Place of Death||Salter Point, Western Australia|
|Age at Enlistment||24 years, 1 month|
|Next of Kin||Wife , Mrs Dulcie Marsh|
|Reg Number||W1022 & 38897|
|Date of Enlistment||10 Oct 1940|
|Rank||Trooper & Leading Aircraftman|
|Unit/Formation||10th Australian Light Horse Regiment ww2 & No. 21 Squadron RAAF|
|1st Departure from Australia|
|Journey Dates||1944 ‒ 1944|
|Transport Details||SS Luis Arguello Darwin to Morotai|
|Post War Details|
|Fate||Returned to Australia|
1939-45 Star |
War Medal 1939-45
Australian Service Medal 1939-45
Vern was born in 1916 as the last of six children to Robert and Ellen Marsh, arriving considerably later than his siblings, some 13 years after the couple's fifth child, Owen. Mother Ellen was unwell for some of Vern's childhood, and so his sister Edna (14 years his senior) looked after Vern a great deal. He had the nickname of 'Boy'.
Vern was raised on the family farm, helping his father and attending the Armadale school. He was a keen footballer and was a member of the Armadale Club that were Premiers and winners of the Cosson Cup in 1934. Vern was also very keen on tennis and built a tennis court on the farm.
Electoral Roll entries: 1937 - 1943 at Rowley road, Armadale, farm hand.
Vern enlisted in the Militia on 10 Oct 1940, but was discharged on 24 Mar 1941 in order to join the RAAF. His RAAF enlistment date was 5 Jun 1941. His militia service had been with the 10th Australian Light Horse Regiment based in Bunbury.
His initial RAAF posting was to Pearce where he undertook basic induction training for six weeks - primarily drill and basic weapons training. This was followed by some basic technical training as a trainee flight mechanic. Next step was North Terrace in Adelaide No. 4 School of Technical Training RAAF where he undertook a three month long course to qualify as a Basic Fitter (108 Squad). On completion he was posted to Melbourne's No. 1 Engineering School RAAF where he began a three month course designed to train him on aero engines, with the trainees beginning with basic engines and working to more advanced ones if they passed each step. On conclusion of the hanger training, they spent time learning how to maintain and service planes on the airfield.
Graduation was followed by a posting to No. 6 Service Flying Training School RAAF at Mallala in South Australia, a pilot training school where aircrew were responsible to maintain the aircraft Avro Ansons. Three months later he was posted to No. 1 Aircraft Depot RAAF at Sale in Victoria where he worked on Fairey Battles, and was given a course on maintaining Merlin engines after which he was remustered as a Fitter with a 50% increase in pay from 6/- per day to 9/-. During this time Vern's wife-to-be (Dulcie Beatrice Sheen 1917 - 2009) travelled to Victoria and they were married in a church in Swanston street, Melbourne during 1942.
Prior to being posted into a war zone Vern undertook a two week toughening up course in the ranges outside Melbourne. In Jun 1944 Vern was posted to No. 42 Squadron RAAF which was equipped with Consolidated PBY Catalina Flying Boats, based on Melville Bay in Arnhem Land. Travel was via train to Adelaide, and then north by train to Alice Springs, before travelling north in a convoy of trucks to Birdum where they were again able to board a train to Adelaide River. Here they stayed in an RAAF transit camp before joining No. 42 Squadron RAAF in Melville Bay, after a short stay in Darwin.
No. 42 Squadron was later relocated to Darwin where they operated as before dropping sea mines into waters thought to be used by Japanese shipping in the Indonesia archipelago. At the time that No. 42 Squadron were relocated to Leyte in the Philippines (November 1944), Vern was reposted to No. 21 Squadron RAAF, part of No. 82 Bomber Wing, which flew Consolidated B-24 Liberator aircraft from an airbase at Fenton, south of Darwin.
Several weeks later a detachment of the squadron was shipped to Morotai in the North Celebes aboard the SS Luis Arguello from Darwin, arriving in Morotai at 9:00pm on 26 Nov 1944. Their role was to support Australian landings in Borneo and Tarakan. At the completion of the war, the Liberators were used to fly ex-POWs, and surplus personnel, back to Australia. Eventually Vern was sent back to Australia for discharge from the RAAF which occurred on 13 Feb 1946.
Electoral Roll entries: 1949 - 1980 at 33 William street, Armadale, armament assistant. Dulcie Beatrice Marsh died on 18 Mar 2009, aged 91 in Salter Point.