The Airmen's Stories - F/Lt. R C V Ash
Robert Clifford Vacy Ash was born on 3rd May 1909 in Wormit, Fife.
His father Robert Vacy Clifford Ash (a medical practitioner who had studied at the University of Edinburgh) had been born in South Africa and his mother in Indonesia. RVC Ash was awarded a MC (gazetted 4th February 1918) as a Captain in the RAMC for remaining at his post when a dressing station was overun by the Germans.
RCV Ash was educated at St. Salvators School in St. Andrews and at Glenalmond College. After leaving he was employed in the LNE Railway Administration Office. He was a member of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club and later RAF Golf Champion for two years running.
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.
He was awarded the Kings Cup for steeplechasing while serving there.
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. His body was taken to Detling before being moved to Chatham Hospital. Their report mentioned 'gunshot wounds' leading to the supposition that he had been machine-gunned on his descent.
He was 31 years old and is buried in the Western Cemetery, St Andrews, Fife.
Image courtesy of Neil Russell.
Ash is also commemorated on the war memorial of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club (below).
Above images by kind permission of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews.