The Airmen's Stories - F/Lt. R C V Ash
Robert Clifford Vacy Ash was born in 1909 in Dunfermline, Fife. His father (a medical practitioner who had studied at the University of Edinburgh) had been born in South Africa and his mother in Indonesia.
Ash was granted a permanent commission in the Stores Branch of the RAF in January 1933 and in August went to Cranwell on Supply duties. On 1st September 1934 he went overseas to the Aircraft Depot, Hinaidi, Iraq, moving to the Central Supplies Depot there on 23rd May 1936.
In December 1938 Ash was serving at the Supplies Depot, Habbaniya but was back in England in 1939. He was posted on 1st May to the Equipment Branch, 24 (Training) Group at No. 1 RAF Depot, Uxbridge.
Ash transferred to the General Duties Branch on 30th October 1939, having volunteered for aircrew duties. He completed his gunnery training and was posted to 149 Squadron at Mildenhall, as Gunnery Leader.
He requested a transfer to Defiants and visited the Central Gunnery School on 19th June, in search of information on Boulton and Paul gun turrets. He joined 264 Squadron at Duxford next day.
On the morning of 28th August 1940 Ash was airborne in Defiant L7021 with his pilot, S/Ldr. GD Garvin. They were in combat with Me109s and both baled out after the aircraft was shot down, afterwards crashing in flames at Luddenham Marsh, Faversham.
Garvin landed with minor injuries but Ash was dead on landing, from bullet wounds, probably machine-gunned as he floated down.
He was 31 years old and is buried in the Western Cemetery, St Andrews, Fife.
At some point his father had been awarded the MC.
Image courtesy of Neil Russell.