LAF (E) Ronald Henry (Harry) Dibben

Ronald Henry (Harry) Dibben

Leading Air Fitter      Fleet Air Arm

Service no: FAA/FX 75163

Died 15th November 1942 during the sinking of HMS Avenger, taking part in ‘Operation Torch’ aged 24 years.

Commemorated at Lee on Solent Memorial.

Born in Gosport 4th August 1918, to Harry & Clara Dibben.

Ronald was only 6 years old when his father died.

His mother, Clara, remarried in 1926 to William John Curle in Alverstoke (Gosport).

Ronald’s stepfather was a sergeant in the Portsmouth division of the Metropolitan Police. He retired from the force in 1931.

Records show that at some time subsequent to this, the family moved to Halton Holegate. The ‘Register of 1939’ shows William and Clara living at The Cottage, Northorpe Road. William is recorded as working as a County Court Bailiff, and still with the Met. Police reserve.

Ronald was not living with his mother and stepfather by this time, presumably having enlisted in the R.A.F. as records show that Ronald attended King Edward VI Grammar School in Spilsby, and that he passed the entrance exam to R.A.F. Halton, Aylesbury, (Buckinghamshire) in 1934.

Ronald married Irene May Jesty in 1940. There are no records of any children, or that Irene remarried.  She died in 1984.

HMS Avenger.

Part of a convoy, the HMS Avenger (Royal Navy escort aircraft carrier) came under attack at 03:00 hrs on 15th November 1942. U-Boat 155 fired upon the convoy hitting 3 ships, including the Avenger, which was struck on the port side, midships. The resulting explosion tore through the bomb room and ignited the munitions stored there. A secondary explosion resulted in damage, such that the ship broke her back and sank in under 5 minutes. The Commanding Officer, 67 Officers and 446 ratings were lost. Only 12 crewmen survived.  

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