Airborne Engineers Association

Roll of Honour



Ron Day - 1st January 1929 to 24th July 2023


Ron Day was a loving husband to Dorothy and later Daphne and a beloved father to Anne and Martin and Grandad to Joe.

Ron was born and grew up in Portsmouth, son to John and Nora.  He was the second eldest in a family of four children having one older brother, Jack and a younger sister Gill and brother Geoff.

He enrolled as a boy soldier in 1943 at the age of 14, going on to enlist in the army proper just before his 18th birthday when he joined the Royal Engineers where he was to go on and complete 28 years military service.

Ron was to meet Dorothy at their mutual friends’ wedding. He was 22 years of age when he and Dorothy were themselves married in May 1951 in Aldershot.  A month later Ron, was shipped out to Egypt’s Suez Canal Zone.

It is difficult to imagine now, but he was to be away without leave for three years, a time where he was separated from his new wife, but where he was to form friendships which lasted a lifetime, especially Eric Blenkinsop (who was to be Martin’s godfather), Tom Thornton, and much later, Tom’s wife Bobby.

When Ron eventually returned to the UK in 1954, he and Dororthy were then able to start their married life proper. They were first stationed in Chatham where they saw the arrival of Anne in 1956, before moving to Warminster.

A few months after Martin was born in April 1958, Ron was posted to Benghazi in Libya, although this time he was able to take Dorothy and his young family with him, where they stayed for three years.

At the end of those three impressionable years, the entire family were packed into a car, filled to the brim with possessions and provisions and they travelled over 3,000 miles back to the UK through Tunisia, Italy, Switzerland and France. A feat that would be adventurous today let alone in 1961, a time when cars were not as comfortable or reliable as they are today, and with none of the infrastructure and roads we now take for granted.

After periods in Derby and Barnard Castle, in 1964 the family were posted to Germany, for what was to be home for many years.

The family were first in Hanover, then moved to Paderborn.

Once they were both old enough, Anne and Martin were both to take advantage of the army’s policy at that time to fund boarding schools in the UK.

In 1969, as man landed on the moon, Ron was sent to Malaysia to build a bridge in the back of beyond which if you know exactly where to look, Google Earth would suggest that it is still standing today. While in Malaysia Ron was to be again separated from Dorothy who was relocated to Uckfield in the UK. For a whole year, Ron, a gifted writer, wrote long letters to Dorothy every day in his beautiful handwriting.

Ron and Dorothy were to be reunited after a year where they then headed back to Germany, this time to the Pied Piper city of Hamelin.

It was in Hamlin that Ron and Dorothy were to become good friends with their neighbours Fred and June Still, an acquaintance that would become very significant many years later.

After two years in Hamelin, Ron left the army in 1972 and Ron and Dorothy travelled back to the UK and bought their first property in Farnham, close to three of Dorothy’s sisters’ families.

Ron joined the Civil Service Property Service Agency, working in London and was responsible for the maintenance, upkeep and improvement of key government buildings.

During this time Ron took it upon himself to build an extension to the family home, where for many months he would get home at 6pm, have something to eat and then work until 10pm on the extension, and at the weekend all day Saturday and Sunday.

After a good number of years, Ron and Dorothy got itchy feet and Ron requested an assignment in Germany and he and Dorothy kept the Farnham home but went back to Germany this time to Bergen-Hohne.

In Germany, what had been Ron’s role when he was in the army had since been assigned to the PSA so he was now a Civil Servant attached to the military, managing the maintenance of the region’s British and NATO military infrastructure. Their social life being very much back among the military community, a time that Dorothy and Ron both enjoyed to the full.

It was while they were in Germany that Dorothy was diagnosed with cancer. As the cancer gradually took hold, the Civil Service allowed Ron to return with Dorothy to the UK, inventing a job that he didn’t really need to do. Once the hospital had given up on their treatment, Ron took Dorothy back to the family home in Farnham and cared for her until she died in the summer of 1987.

The loss of Dorothy was a difficult time for Ron, he returned to Germany this time to Soest, where he lived on his own in a house on the banks of the Möhnesee.

Although Anne and Martin and many friends and family went to visit Ron in his rather swank Batchelor pad, it was without doubt a difficult time.

It coincided with the end of the cold war and having so recently lost Dorothy, he was tasked with turning off the lights, as the bulk of the NATO forces all returned home. It is a time that he must have felt everything was coming to an end as he reached his own retirement; the Forces TV and Radio stations shut down, the NAFFI and Officers Mess closed their doors and his colleagues were one-by-one relocated. A job that nevertheless he stoically completed before his own retirement at the start of 1990 aged 61.

From 1990 through to 1999 were Ron’s wilderness years, he kept busy, with many of his family benefiting from his carpentry skills. He holidayed on his own and with the family, played golf, was always doing something, and worked hard at staying in contact with friends and family.

In 1999 Jane, the daughter of June and Fred Still, who as previously mentioned were Ron and Dorothy’s neighbours in Paderborn, introduced Ron to her cousin Daphne.

Jane had tried countless times to engineer a meeting between Daphne and Ron, thinking them suited to one another, but time after time Daphne had rebuffed Jane’s attempts, until Jane said that she would try one more time and Daphne finally relented.

To cut a long story even shorter, Ron and Daphne met and proved to be soulmates; Ron proposed to Daphne on Millenium eve and they married in June 2000, in Loch Lomond

They were together, first in Farnham and then in February 2010 they moved to Worthing to a flat facing the sea where they continued to be devoted to each other.

They were to enjoy eleven years together but where life had been so good, it was then cruel, when Daphne was to die in December 2011. Ron was devastated at the loss of Daphne, something that even twelve years later he never fully came to terms with.

Year after year Ron would make a weekly trip from Worthing to Cobham to Daphne’s memorial stone laying fresh flowers and taking the time to visit Daphne’s mother Josephine.

Only when his driving license was prised from his hand, at 92 years of age, did he stop going weekly, but he still managed almost monthly visits.

In a letter that Ron left for Anne and Martin, he was able to express better than anyone his true feelings when he wrote:

In meeting your mother Dorothy and marrying, I was indeed extremely fortunate. Latterly of course, I was yet again most lucky to have met and married Daphne. How very, very fortunate to have had the love and companionship of two, so lovely ladies. Ladies for whom I would have willing died for.  (Ron Day 6 March 2012)

To those that met Ron they might comment that he was always impeccably dressed, polite and kind with a positive attitude.

That he had high morals, but rarely was he judgemental of others.

They might say that he was generous with his time, wisdom and resources.

He had a hot line to the local flower shop.

He would always say “please” and “thank you,” hold the door open for others, tip generously, and smile often.

He was as confident and equally comfortable at a casual gathering with friends as he was in more formal environments.

He had a strong work ethic, taking pride and giving his best to whatever, he did.

He was rarely idle and always a prolific reader of books.

He had the most beautiful handwriting, no emails, his letters were always crafted with a fountain pen and many of his family have kept their letters and continue to treasure them along with the small gifts he would send. 

He had great self-discipline. Throughout his eighties he would exercise on his bike for two hours, three times a week and was still doing 150 sit-ups into his nineties. When Martin asked Ron why he wanted to trade his cross trainer for an exercise bike, he said that he didn’t feel the cross-trainer was giving him a good enough work-out.

Ron was well-spoken, an attentive listener, had a wonderful sense of humour and a great laugh.

He would try to do the right thing even when no one was watching, a man of his word, who would not be swayed by peer pressure or by popular opinion.

To many he was a good and loyal lifelong friend, who made the people he met feel special.

Women adored him, men respected him.

When his great friend Bob Prosser was informed of how the hospital staff at Worthing hospital who cared for Ron had told Anne and Martin that they adored him Bob wrote, “I can just imagine all the nurses falling in love with him. What a wonderful smoothy he was.”

Simply put, Ron Day was a Royal Engineer, a true gentleman, and such a wonderful loving father and to many, a great friend.



first image second image third image fourth image fifth image sixth image seventh image eighth image
themed object