Interview with
Jimmy Prentice (1989)

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


Corran Ashworth and Jim Prentice Corran Ashworth RAF (left),
and Jim Prentice RNZAF
(both 253 Squadron)
- Jemmapes, Algeria, 1943

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 (that) 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 1,000 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!

Paul Sortehaug further notes:
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.