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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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RAF Crest
06.05.1943 No. 39 SFTS Oxford BM718 P/O. Leonard G. Gray

Operation: Training

Date: 06th May 1943 (Thursday)

Unit: No. 39 Service Flight Training School, Saskatchewan

Type: Airspeed Oxford

Serial: BM718

Code: None issued

Base: Swift Current Airbase

Location: As described

Pilot U/T: Sgt. Daniel Draper Ashcroft 1549249 RAFVR Age 19. Killed

Pilot Inst: P/O. Leonard George Gray 136452 RAFVR Age 27. Killed


BM718 had taken off at 23:30 hrs on 6th May 1943 on a night training flight with a crew of two.

Just after take-off the aircraft began a descending turn to starboard which continued to increase until it hit the ground 1/4 mile south east of the airfield killing both of the crew.

Above: funeral of the two crew members, on left Sgt Ashcroft, right P/O. Gray (courtesy Ray Martinson)

Crew graves (courtesy Ray Martinson and Mike McQuaid)

Burial details:

Sgt. Daniel Draper Ashcroft. Swift Current Cemetery (Mount Pleasant) Block 2. Grave 10. The son of Edward and Elizabeth (née Draper) Ashcroft of Aughton, West Lancashire, England. (He had been a keen sportsman and played for both his local football and cricket teams before volunteering at age 18). Daniel was just one week away from completing his course. Also commemorated on his parent's grave in St Michael's churchyard, Aughton, Lancashire, England. Grave inscription reads: "Of Aughton, Ormskirk, Lancashire. Aged 19 Years. Peace Perfect Peace".

P/O. Leonard George Gray. Swift Current Cemetery (Mount Pleasant) Block 2. Grave 9. The son of Wilfred George and Amy (née Wood) Gray and the husband of Mrs Vera (née Garratt) Gray of Fleet, Hampshire, England. Grave inscription reads: "Softly At Night The Star Are Gleaming Over Our Loved One. So Sadly Missed".

Researched by Ray Martinson of Saskatchewan, the great nephew of PO Gray. Sgt. Ashcroft parent photograph courtesy Mike McQuaid and dedicated to the relatives of this crew.

KTY - 02.03.2018

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Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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