Marsh, David Cawood

Date of birth:
December 5th, 1907 (Johannesburg/Transvaal, South Africa)
Date of death:
June 21st, 1979 (Observatory/Cape Town, South Africa)
Service number:
47228, South African Air Force
South African


David Cawood Marsh was born on December 5th, 1907 in Johannesburg, Transvaal, South Africa. He went to school at Rondebosch Boys High School, Cape Town, South Africa and found employment as a Clerk in the Chief Accountant’s Office, South African Railways and Harbours, Johannesburg, South Africa.

He joined the South African Air Force at the outbreak of the Second World War on October 21st, 1939. and was deployed in various Squadrons in the South Africa Air Force during the War, serving, amongst others, in Cape Town, Kenya, Madagascar, The Middle East and in Italy. Marsh was demobbed from the Air Force on October 18th, 1945. He was initially a gunner in bombers and ended the war as Major DC Marsh, DFC, a navigator in bombers.

He returned to civilian life as a clerk with the South African Railways and Harbours, retiring as Chief Auditor, Internal Affairs, Cape Town on March 20th, 1970.

David Cawood Marsh died on June 21st, 1979 in Observatory, Cape Town, leaving behind a wife, Gertrude Pauline and a son and daughter, Paul and Clare.

October 21st, 1939 - January 3rd, 1940: CAFTD;
January 3rd, 1940 - February 3rd, 1940: No.12B Squadron W.A.S.;
February 5th, 1940 - March 30th, 1940: Ground Instruction School Bfx;
April 3rd, 1940 - April 29th, 1940: A+AOS, Wynberg;
May 2nd, 1940 - May 16th, 1940: No.31A Squadron, Durban;
May 20th, 1940 - August 20th, 1940: A+AOS, Wynberg;
September 13th, 1940 - June 9th, 1941: No.12B Squadron, Kenya/Abysinia;
June 12th, 1941 - July 26th, 1941: MAF, Pretoria;
July 26th, 1941 - September 1st, 1941: No.32 Flight, Cape Town;
September 1st, 1941 - October 25th, 1941: No.66 Airschool, Cape Town;
October 26th, 1941 - April 26th, 1942: No.32 Flight, Cape Town;
April 27th, 1942 - August 22nd, 1942: No.20 TBR, Madagascar;
August 23rd, 1942 - January 8th, 1943: No.16 Squadron, Madagascar;
January 8th, 1943 - February 1st, 1943: No.27 Squadron, Cape Town;
February 1st, 1943 - December 9th, 1943: CFAD, Cape town;
December 9th, 1943 - March 13th, 1944: No.29 OTU, Darling;
March 16th, 1944 - April 3rd, 1944: MAF, Pretoria;
April 7th, 1944 - April 25th, 1944: Almaja, Middle East;
April 25th, 1944 - October 18th, 1945: No.2 Wing, Gebel Ham 21/Aleppo/Foggia.

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Second World War (1939-1945)
No. 20 Squadron, South African Air Force
Awarded on:
July 9th, 1943
"For determination and devotion to duty. During twelve months' active service in the Abyssinian campaign, Lieutenant Marsh as air gunner showed outstanding skill and courage in carrying out his duties. He subsequently qualified as an observer and was employed on deep-sea patrols in South Africa. Since his arrival in Madagascar he has been employed as observer and navigator on deep-sea patrols and photographic reconnaissances. He was navigator of the aircraft which located the three stranded airmen in the Les Glorieuses and the 8,000 tons S.S. Duchesne at Mayotte. He was observer and navigator of the aircraft that co-operated with the cutting-out operation of S.S. Duchesne and the capture of Pamanzi. He navigated the aircraft during the photographic survey of Pamanzi Island and the reefs in the vicinity of the island. During all these operations he showed great skill and ability in navigating his aircraft through all types of weather and conditions."

Lieutenant D.C. Marsh, S.A.A.F. has been presented the DFC in civil life, employed as a Clerk in the Chief Accountant’s Office, South African Railways and Harbours, Johannesburg.

Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
Second World War (1939-1945)
No. 20 (S.A.A.F.) Squadron
1939-1945 Star
Second World War (1939-1945)
No. 20 (S.A.A.F.) Squadron
Africa Star
Second World War (1939-1945)
No. 20 (S.A.A.F.) Squadron
Italy Star


  • Photo 1: Paul M. Marsh
  • Photo: Paul M. Marsh
  • - Second Supplement to The London Gazette of 6th July 1943, Issue 36084, dated 9th July 1943
    - Pilot Log Book
    - DFC Awarding Letter