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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. J Ashworth

 

Jack Ashworth was born in 1921 in Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire. His father appears in the 1911 census as a tool fitter and in the 1939 register as a tool maker, foreman.

In 1948 Mr and Mrs Ashworth became naturalized United States citizens.

J Ashworth joined the RAF as an Aircrafthand in July 1938 and later re-mustered as an Airman u/t Air Gunner. He was posted to 29 Squadron, operating Blenheims at Digby, as an Aircraftman in early April 1940.

His first war patrols in support of the Norway campaign were flown between the 9th and 15th April 1940. By 1st June Ashworth had been promoted to Sergeant.

His first Battle sortie was a X-Raid patrol on the night of the 18th July 1940.

In 1941 the squadron converted from Blenheims to the Bristol Beaufighter. His logbook was signed by Guy Gibson on five occasions as 'A' Flight Commander and once as acting CO between January and April 1941. His logbook also records that Ashworth flew with Gibson on three occasions, two of them operational patrols.

After a period instructing he was posted to 219 Squadron, also operating the Beaufighter, he was then attached to 153 Squadron operating out of Ballyhalbert in Northern Ireland. This work involved coastal command patrols of shipping.

He was commissioned from Warrant Officer in September 1942 and in 1943 he joined 89 Squadron in Ceylon, operating the Beaufighter from Ratmalana.

On 11th November he and his pilot, F/Lt. Astbury, were scrambled at night and shot down a Japanese H6K 'Mavis' four-engined flying boat on a sortie to bomb Colombo, this was the Squadron's first kill in the Ceylon Campaign.

Ashworth was released in 1946 as a Flight Lieutenant, going on to fly until 1957 as a commercial radio operator.

He died in Tameside, Greater Manchester (the same area in which he was born) in February 1984.

 


 

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