The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. A T R Aslett
Arthur Thomas Rayner Aslett was born on 26th August 1920 and began work as an apprentice printer with a Kent newspaper in 1934. In early 1939 he joined the RAFVR at Rochester.
Called up on 5th September 1939, he completed his basic training and went to Air Service Training Hamble for initial wireless theory and operation. This was followed by advanced wireless work and flying experience at Cranwell.
After a three week course at 9 Bombing and Gunnery School Penrhos, Aslett was posted on 10th August 1940 to No. 1 (Coastal) OTU Silloth, from where he joined 235 Squadron at Bircham Newton on
23rd September as a WOp/AG.
He was aboard Blenheim T1999 LA-S returning from a bombing attack on two enemy merchant vessels off Denmark on 23rd November. During the action the pilot, P/O JT Davidson, had been wounded and the aircraft sufficiently damaged to make necessary a crash-landing at base.
Unbeknown to Davidson, a bomb remained on the rack and this exploded on impact, severely wounding Aslett and setting fire to the aircraft. Davidson and his observer, Sgt. Brazier, jumped clear but on realising that Aslett was still in the blazing aircraft they went back, regardless of their own safety, and dragged him out.
They were both badly burned and their gallantry was recognised in March 1941, Davidson being awarded the GM and Brazier the BEM.
Aslett spent sometime in Ely Hospital, eventually returning to Bircham Newton, where he was put on instruction duties. He later joined 279 (Air Sea Rescue) Squadron, was commissioned in December 1943 and on finishing his tour in early February 1944, was posted to No. 1 (Coastal) OTU at Turnberry as an instructor.
Later in the year Aslett went to 111 OTU Nassau, Bahamas for Liberator crewing. He joined 224 Squadron on his return to Britain on 9th January 1945 and remained with the squadron until the end of the year.
Aslett was released in February 1946 as a Flight Lieutenant.
He died in September 1998 in Taunton.