Sergeant Engineer - Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves - 97 Squadron - Service No. 1866432
Gerald John James Ashpole was born on 16th November 1925 in West Ham, Essex. His father was George W Ashpole, a Works Manager, and his mother was Frances (née Osborn). The previous school that he attended was Jubilee School in Bury St Edmunds.
In 1938 Gerald Ashpole joined The County School for Boys – now known as Gravesend Grammar School. The Head Master at that time was the Reverend Samuel Lister. The School had just moved to brand new premises in Church Walk, Milton, Gravesend opposite to Milton Church.
The School’s Admission Register lists Gerald’s home address as 24 Gatwick Road, Gravesend. Whilst at the School, Gerald was in Downs House.
In 1940 Gerald left the School and worked at Martin’s Garage, Singlewell Road, Gravesend. He enlisted in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves on the 17th May 1943. He was a Sergeant Engineer, flying with 97 Squadron, Service Number 1866432.
On 6th June 1944 – D-Day – flying in a Lancaster III ND815 OF-G, Gerald and his fellow crew members took part in Operation St.Pierre. They were tasked to bomb a coastal defence battery at St. Pierre-du-Mont, Normandy – an early morning attack on the gun battery at Point-du-Hoc, which overlooked the D-Day beaches. The plane crashed at Osmanville in the Department of Calvados, 2 km north east of Isigny-sur-Mer.
Gerald Ashpole died at the age of 18. He is buried at Osmanville St Clement Churchyard, Calvados, Normandy, France.
There are links below to Newspaper Clippings and Photographs from the Gravesend Grammar School Archives.
Also links to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website and a few other websites that might be of interest: