Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1944, Sergeant Derek Kilgour Ashton, air bomber, and Sergeant James Thomas Ravenscroft, wireless operator and air gunner, from 166 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, were listed as missing and presumed killed after failing to return from a bombing raid on Berlin.
On the day of their deaths Bomber Command had despatched five hundred and fifteen Lancasters and fifteen Mosquitos for a raid on Berlin. It was a cloudy night and visibility was poor. Sergeant Ashton and Sergeant Ravenscroft took off from R.A.F. Kirmington in Lincolnshire and were part of the crew of one of thirty-three Lancasters which did not return that night. Also aboard were Flying Officer Richard Hicks, Sergeant Joseph William Swann, Fling Officer Aubrey Edgar Cook, Sergeant Anthony Joe Holdom and Sergeant Harold Bernard Bell.
Sergeant Ashton was educated at Lancing College in West Sussex and in 1933 took up employment in Liverpool as a clerk. At the outbreak of the second world war he enlisted in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Born in Lima, Peru, he was 28 years old.
Sergeant Ravenscroft was born in Dagenham and was 21 years old.