Gordon Albert ‘Steve’ Ashby was a Londoner who worked for Essex County Council and served in the R.A.F. during the war. He was killed in December 1944 in Antwerp, Belgium by a V-2 rocket, possibly the one that destroyed the Cine Rex that day. His home was in Nalla Gardens.
Steve was born in Chelsea, London 1922, the only child of Frank Albert Edward Ashby and Amy Ashby (nee Martin). His father had been born in Witham in 1889 and his parents had married in London in 1915.
Prior to the war he had been a clerk within Essex County Council's Public Assistance Department.
Steve served as Leading Aircraftsman 1638805 in the Royal Air Force (Volunteer Reserve).
He was killed by a V-2 rocket in Antwerp Belgium on 16th December 1944, at the age of 22, having been in the R.A.F. about two and a half years and had landed in France soon after D-Day. At that time of his death his parents were resident at of 8 Nalla Gardens in Chelmsford.
That day a V-2 rocket hit the Cine Rex in Antwerp at 3.20 p.m. when 1,200 people were watching a showing of 'The Plainsman'. 567 were killed there, including 296 Allied soldiers. Steve may have been one of them.
Steve left an estate valued at £212 5s. 4d.
Today Steve lies buried at Schoonselhof Cemetery near Antwerp in Belgium (grave V. D. 39.) He is commemorated on the Broomfield British Legion's war memorial, on a stained glass window at St. Mary’s Church in Broomfield, and the on the Essex County Council War Memorial at County Hall, Chelmsford.
On 15th January 1945 Steve’s father was cycling home from Marconi's factory in New Street, Chelmsford, where he was a fitter, when he collapsed and fell from his cycle. When picked up the 55 year-old was found to be dead. Death was due to natural causes. A local newspaper reported that he had been upset by the death of his only son in Belgium.
Steve's mother died in 1974,
Gordon Albert ASHBY, Leading Aircraftman, 146 Wing, Royal Air Force
Killed by a V-2 Rocket in Antwerp, Belgium. Aged 22