After The War
The late 1940s saw Flight Lieutenant Ashworth as an instructor at Middle East Training School at Amman in what was then Transjordan (now Jordan), commanding the Iraq and Persia Communications Flight at Habbaniya (Iraq), attending the Empire Test Pilot School in Farnborough, flying de Havilland Vampire and Gloster Meteor jets and being posted to the Instrument and Photographic Flight at the Royal Aircraft Establishment in Farnborough. He also participated in auto-pilot testing.
In the 1950s he spent time in Australia, was promoted to Squadron Leader on 1 July 1950, married the widow of a friend in 1951 following his return to England, more auto-pilot testing plus firing some of the early ejector seats and low level/high speed/night photography from a Meteor. He finished his tour at the end of 1951 and he was awarded an AFC on June 5th 1952 for his time at Farnborough.
He became a senior staff officer with No 1 Bomber Group at Bawtry in Yorkshire. Following a very short course on the Canberra Operational Training Unit he took charge of No 139 (Jamaica) Squadron, based at Hemswell. His time there included level target marking at night plus flying demonstrations in Canada, Jamaica and the Caribbean. He left the Squadron in October 1955 on a posting to the Air Ministry and he was awarded a Bar to his AFC on May 31st 1956 for his work with the
Another training course followed - this time in Lincolnshire, then to Germany to form a new Canberra Squadron. He was based at the pre-war Luftwaffe Station at Gtersloh before moving to a NATO base at Geilenkirchen, near the Belgian border. His next move was to ‘B’ Squadron at the Aeroplane and Armament Evaluation Establishment at Boscombe, near Bournemouth. Whilst there he fired the first two-inch rocket pods from the Canberra B (1) 8 and gave some demonstrations on their effectiveness. The last aircraft he flew in the RAF was an Avro Anson - the same make as the first he had flown. From Boscombe he was posted to the Air Ministry to the Directorate of Flight Safety where he became the Deputy Director. During this time recurring attacks of Malaria caused cataracts, tinnitus and slow failure of both kidneys.
His last posting was to the NATO base at Laarbruch, Germany and he was promoted to Wing Commander on 1 July 1956. Increasing blindness forced him to leave Laarbruch to go to the RAF Hospital at Halton, Buckinghamshire, and he retired August 31 1967. While he was at the Air Ministry, his wife gave birth to his son, his only child. He was named Corran.
Wing Commander Arthur Ashworth’s war career saw him complete an impressive 110 sorties which involved nearly five hundred hours of operations. He flew a wide range of aircraft during and after the war, including biplanes, bombers, fighters and jets. He saw action in the Pacific, European and African theatres as well as operating in the Middle East, England, Germany, Canada, Australia and the Caribbean following the war.
Wing Commander Arthur Ashworth DSO, DFC and Bar, AFC and Bar, MiD passed away in Bournemouth, England, on February 19th 1994 aged 73 years.
On January 18 2018, Arthur Ashworth's ashes were brought home following the death of his wife. About 80 people, including RSA representatives and various extended family members — led by his youngest brother, Vincent, and daughter-in-law Maria Ashworth — attended a graveside service in Alexandra, New Zealand, to honour his wishes.
Campaign Stars, Medals and Clasps won:
(left to right)
The Pathfinder Force Badge
‘There is nothing that war has ever achieved that we could not better achieve without it.’ ~ Havelock Ellis
A full biography of Wing Commander Ashworth's life and career can be read in two publications:
'A Legend in His Time - The Artie Ashworth Story' published in softcover in 2012, and
'Artie - Bomber Command Legend' published in hardcover in England in 2014,
both by youngest brother Vincent.
Please email him for further information on these books.
‘War doesn't determine who is right. War determines who is left.’ ~ often attributed to Bertrand Russell