Interview with Jimmy Prentice (1989)

(Jimmy and Corran had been together in 253 Squadron in North Africa) © Paul Sortehaug


PS (Paul Sortehaug): Corran Ashworth was a friend of yours. He followed you to both Europe and North Africa.

JP (Jimmy Prentice): I think he got to Europe before I did.

PS: That might be so. Do you remember the circumstances in which he was lost at all?

JP: Yes. Well on the Squadron they sent around just a typed sheet NYR (not yet returned) and I saw Ashworth’s name and said to the CO he was an old friend of mine. He said to take the Auster and find out. I flew over there and I was introduced to a chap who was flying with Ash when it happened. I said ‘Is there any show?’ and he said no.
The story I was given was that he was dive-bombing barges crossing the Seine River and the Mustang carried 1000 pound bombs under each wing. The bombs were detonated by a device which, as the air pressure increased, the bomb went off before it actually hit the ground by this device going into a concave shape. There was a bit of talk that sometimes these bombs would explode prematurely. I was told that he did at the last moment direct the Mustang on to a barge, and that he crashed on to the barge on the Seine River. That was it!

Vince Ashworth's Note:
I am fairly sure Jimmy would be correct about this because he and Corran were good friends, and as he states he flew over with the express intention of finding out what had happened. What is more, Corran was lost on 3 August 1944, and Jim was shot down and captured a fortnight later - so his visit to 65 Sqdn must have been within a very short time of Corran going missing. In other words, the information was relatively fresh. I have also been in touch with Jamie Jameson who wrote to tell me that they had had a lot of trouble with premature detonation of bombs on his Mustang Wing in Normandy in 1944.