Second World War veteran and Spitfire and Hurricane Museum Honorary Vice-President Ron Dearman has passed away aged 96.
Ron, who was born in Essex, served with the RAF during World War Two, both in Europe and then predominantly in Burma.
He joined the ATC in 1939 when he was 16 and this is where he learned Morse code and got used to military discipline.
In 1941, aged 18, Ron was selected to serve with the RAF and commenced flight training.
His first flight was in a Tiger Moth near Rugby. Ron, like most pilots, fondly remembered his first flight. After initial flight training, Ron was sent to Canada to learn how to fly twin engine aircraft.
He trained as part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. He first flew the Fairchild Cornell at No. 34 EFTS (Assiniboia) and then went on to complete his training at No. 17 SFTS at Souris, flying the Avro Anson.
On his return to the UK he joined the ADLS flight at RAF Northolt, again flying Ansons, taking photographs and documents over to the front.
He was awarded the much coveted pilots brevet (wings) in 1942
In December 1944 he transferred to 267 Sqn and was sent out to India, throughout 1945 and into 1946 he flew many sorties in Douglas DC-3 Dakotas supplying ground troops and moving personnel and supplies.
Ron was married to Ivy until she passed away.
He was a dedicated and popular volunteer at the Spitfire museum, where he welcomed all visitors – particularly women of all ages – answered any questions and talked about the war and flying.
As well as volunteering at the museum two days a week, Ron was extremely active in the community in Birchington where he was a volunteer “befriender” of the elderly (to prevent loneliness and isolation) and often travelled great distances to places like Biggin Hill, Duxford and even Coningsby to help other museums and commemorative occasions.
A statement from the Spitfire and Hurrican Museum today (April 1) said: “Ron joined the museum in 2006 as a Host and soon became popular with visitors owing to his friendly disposition and willingness to share his experiences. His enthusiasm for his voluntary work knew no bounds, he was a proud member of the Royal Voluntary Service and was a befriender well into his nineties.
“In addition to his hosting at the museum, Ron was active with his friend and fellow museum volunteer, Gerry, in fundraising for and championing The Manston Spitfire Experience.
“He attended many veteran’s signings and enjoyed attending the regular re-unions at the Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar.
“He was a very modest, humble man and a true Gentleman who will be sadly missed by all at the Museum. Our thoughts and condolences are with his family and friends at this sad time.
“Blue Skies Ron, Rest In Peace.”
I had the pleasure of meeting Ron once at the Herne Bay air show a few years ago with his friend Gerry. They were 93 and 94 years young at the time heroes of the war in Burma and Bomber Command but more humble and modest people you couldn’t meet.
They spoke freely of their war time experiences and their greatest joy seemed to be my 5 year old son listening attentively.
The living owe it to those who no longer can speak to tell their story for them
I MET RON WHILST DOING SHOPPING AT RAMSGATE OF A WEDNESDAY.
RON HAD HIS PAL,DAVID WILSON WITH HIM, A FEW YEARS YOUNGER THAN RON BUT A YEAR TO THE DAY OLDER THAN ME.
REGRETABLY BOTH ARE NOT WITH US TODAY.
I SORELY MISS THESE TWQ GENTLEMEN,FOR THAT WHAT THEY WERE.
IF FAMILY WISH TO GET IN TOUCH THAT WOULD BE NICE.