Vincent Ashworth’s Speech
During the Plaque Unveiling
Oissel, France - 10 June 2006
M. le Depute
M. Le President
M. le Maire
Mesdames et Messieurs
My wife and I are deeply honoured by your presence here today at the
dedication of this memorial to my late brother, Flying Officer Corran
We thank you all from the bottom of our hearts.
Words cannot express our appreciation of the contribution made by M.
Fabrice Dhollande. It is he who has made this day possible.
We are also honoured by the presence of His Excellency, the
Consul-General of the Federal German Republic, and of our own German
We pray that the reconciliation between former foes ensures that the horrors of war and the sacrifice of thousands of young men and women like my late brother, friend and foe alike, are never repeated.
Corran Ashworth was the eighth born of a family of 10. We came from a small, comparatively remote town in rural New Zealand. Our father was tragically killed when Corran was aged only 10 years. Our Mother was left with six dependent children in the middle of the great depression. Four of her sons served in the Royal New Zealand Air Force and the Royal Air Force during World War Two. Three of them, including Corran, saw active service in Europe, the Middle East and the Pacific. The death of Corran on 3 August 1944 was a great tragedy for our Mother and for all my family.
He was a very bright young man who would have succeeded in life no matter what he did. He was a fine sportsman who excelled at cricket and rugby and was liked by all who knew him. Corran was very close to his older brother, Wing Commander Arthur Ashworth, RAF, who served with distinction throughout the whole war. Arthur’s son, named Corran after his Uncle, is present with us today.
With at least four enemy planes destroyed to his credit, Corran’s active service record, and the testimony of his comrades, confirm he was a very fine pilot. Only his closest comrades knew he suffered excruciating sinus pains each time his plane dived at high speed. He refused to seek medical attention, knowing as he did that this would end his operational flying.
Like thousands of other young men and women, friend and foe alike, he was full of hope and dreams. He dreamed of returning home, marrying the girl he loved and had left behind in far off New Zealand. But it was not to be. He came from a far land and gave his life for freedom.
As Jesus said, ‘There is no greater love than this, that a man should lay down his life for his friends’.
“He that lies here will not grow old as we that are left grow old. At the going down of the sun and in the evening, we shall remember him.”