Born in 1914 in East London, George Wilson Ashdown was the son of George John and Lily Wilson Ashdown.
Enlisted into the Northamptonshire Regiment, George served with the 2nd Battalion. Whilst a Sergeant with the Battalion in France 1940 , George was recommended for the Military Medal, the award being confirmed by the London Gazette on the 27th August 1940.
Having been evacuated back to the UK, George applied for and was accepted into the elite Parachute Regiment, eventually being posted to 11th Battalion.
On the 18th September 1944, the Battalion jumped as part of the 4th Parachute Brigade into the Arnhem area with the second lift during Operation Market Garden. The 11th Battalion was moved up from the drop zone to support the advance towards the bridge but was fought to a standstill suffering heavy casualties in and around the Onderlangs area of Arnhem just over 1,000 metres short of Lt Col 'Johnny' Frost’s 2nd Battalion at the bridge.
George Ashdown was killed in action on the 20th September in the Onderlangs area of Arnhem and originally given a field burial opposite the St Elisabeth Hospital he was later interred at the Arnhem Oosterbeek Airborne Cemetery.
A statement from Major L.O.A. Hunt CO recommending WOII George Ashdown for a posthumous Military Medal reads:
'On the 24th May 1940 at Maroeil Sgt Ashdown was present with his Company in a wood. Under heavy shell fire when the Company was suffering heavy casualities he continued to control his platoon calmly and assist other platoon commanders. Later, when the Company was withdrawn, he returned to the wood to search for anyone who may not have received the order to withdraw and for any wounded.
At this time the wood was occupied by the enemy. Sgt Ashdown remained in the wood until 11:30pm when he crawled away under the eyes of the enemy and rejoined his unit, which was four miles away and the position of which he could only guess.'
Compiled with kind assistance of Phil JennettRead More