Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1941, Sergeant Gerard Willington Forster Ashwin, 53 Squadron, the Royal Air Force, was killed when his aircraft was shot down off the coast of France.
The son of a vicar, he was educated at Magdalen College School in Brackley and at Lancing College in West Sussex, after which he attended Queen’s College, Oxford. Sergeant Ashwin then spent several years as a schoolmaster before making a career of photography.
At the outbreak of the second world war, Sergeant Ashwin joined the Royal Air Force, and after training as a navigator in 1940 he was posted to 53 Squadron in Coast Command. Before dawn on the 4th of February in 1941, he and Pilot Officer Charles Patrick Morris and Sergeant Ian Ronald Wentworth Clark took off from R.A.F. Thorney Island. They were part of an operation to attack the port of Brest, but were shot down off the coast of France and crashed into the sea off Morlaix. Their aircraft was not recovered and they are remembered on the Runnymede Air Forces Memorial in Englefield Green, near Egham, Surrey. Sergeant Ashwin is also commemorated on the war memorial at Queen’s College, Oxford.
Gerard, from Abington in Hampshire, was 32 years old.