Grave of airman killed in Second World War is identified after 76 years

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An RAF sergeant from Yorkshire and five other airmen who died in World War Two were finally given deserved recognition after their graves were identified and rededicated to their names.

Sergeant David Ashton, 18, of York, was killed along with two crew members when his Blenheim aircraft was shot down in the Sedan area of France in May 1940.

The crew, including Canadian Pilot Officer Stephen Rose and Leading Aircraftman Ernest Edwards, were buried locally before being reinterred in the Choloy War Cemetery near Toul.

The bodies lay there unnamed for more than 70 years until research revealed their identities.

Records stated that one of the airmen was found with a lighter engraved with the initials “D.A”.

And the only Blenheim lost in May 1940 with both a pilot officer and a crew member with those initials was that of Sgt Ashton’s crew.

A service was held at the cemetery on Wednesday to rededicate their graves. Three other recently identified RAF servicemen who lost their lives in Sedan on the same day, Flight Lieutenant Peter Hawks, Sergeant Fredrick Evans and Aircraftman 1st Class Clifford Shaw, were also included in the service.

Sgt Ashton’s great-nephew David Martin, 57, said: “It had become a holy grail trying to find out what had happened, so it came as a welcome shock.”

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