Leading Aircraftsman Gregory James Ash

He was born 16th November 1904 and baptised on 15th January 1905 at St Crispin’s, Bermondsey. His parents were James Richard and Ellen Ash.

At 22, he married Elizabeth Harriett Burnett, 22, on the 23rd July 1927 at Christ Church, Bermondsey, Southwark. His father was a compositor.

It is likely that they then moved to Mitcham, as his name is shown on the electoral register in 1928 at 199 Manor Road, not far from its junction with Rowan Road and Wide Way.

In the 1939 Register, Gregory James Ash, born 16th November 1904, was a printing clerk, and lived at 199 Manor Road, Mitcham, with his wife Elizabeth Harriet Ash, housewife, born 28th December 1904, and their daughter Margaret, born 19th March 1931.

He served in the Base Signals Repair Unit of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, service number 1249162.

On 7th November 1944, he was onboard the ship HM Landing Ship Tank (LST) 420, with around 230 RAF personnel, when it was sunk by a mine outside Ostend, Belgium.

From the ww2Talk forum:

LST-420 left Dover on 7 November with a party of airmen, trucks and supplies for RAF personnel in Belgium. It was unable to enter the port of Ostend because of a severe storm and the captain decided to return to England. The ship was still within sight of Ostend when it hit a mine, split in two, and sank. Fourteen officers and 224 other ranks were lost. Only 31 were saved. It was the greatest loss of lives on a British landing craft during the war. Many of the casualties were buried at Ostend and at Blankenberge cemeteries in Belgium. Above the wreck today is a marker buoy “LST 420.”

He is buried in the Blankenberge Town Cemetery, West Flanders, Belgium. A photo of his grave can be seen on the Find A Grave website.

Commonwealth War Grave Commission casualty record.

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