Ash, Bill

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Ash, Bill Gender: M
William Franklin Ash
born on 30 November 1917 at 04:30 (= 04:30 AM )
Place Dallas, Texas, 32n47, 96w48
Timezone CST h6w (is standard time)
Data source
BC/BR in hand
Rodden Rating AA
Collector: Scholfield
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_sagcol.18.gif 07°40' s_mo.18.gif s_gemcol.18.gif 28°12 Asc.s_scocol.18.gif 03°21'


American-born British writer and Marxist who served as a fighter pilot with the Royal Canadian Air Force in World War II. Ash has been called "WW2's Greatest Escaper." He was shot down on 24 March 1942, made a prisoner of war and was noted for escaping detention almost a dozen times. On 17 May 1946, he was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for his escaping activities. He ended the war as a flight lieutenant.

Demobilised back in England at war's end, he discovered that the act of "taking the King's shilling" in 1939 had robbed him of his US citizenship and that he was now a stateless person. Ash acquired British citizenship and went up to Balliol College, Oxford, on a veteran's scholarship, to read PPE. He then joined the BBC, working alongside a young Tony Benn, who became a lifelong friend.

Beginning in the 1960s, Ash wrote a series of novels, including Choice of Arms and Ride a Paper Tiger. Politics, however, remained his chief interest. Finding him too quirky and individualistic, the Communist Party rejected his application for membership, and he co-founded the Communist Party of Britain. He also brought his academic background to bear on the subject, publishing a study entitled Marxist Morality. In later life Ash served for several years as chairman of the Writers' Guild of Great Britain and helped to encourage young writers through his work as a script reader for BBC Radio and later as literary manager at the Soho Theatre. His book The Way to Write Radio Drama remained the best on the subject for more than 20 years.

Ash married twice and had a son and a daughter from his first marriage. He died on 26 April 2014, aged 96. In August 2015, the BBC reported: "When Ash died aged 96 last year his obituaries noted that he was said to have been the model for Virgil Hilts, the lean, leather-jacketed airman played by Steve McQueen in the 1963 film The Great Escape.

Link to Wikipedia biography


  • friend relationship with Benn, Tony (born 3 April 1925)


  • Work : Prize 17 May 1946 (Member of the Order of the British Empire/ MBE)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.

Source Notes

Sy Scholfield provided birth certificate.


  • Traits : Body : Size (Height: 1.83 m/ 6 ft)
  • Family : Relationship : Number of Divorces (One dissolved)
  • Family : Relationship : Number of Marriages (Two)
  • Family : Parenting : Kids 1-3 (Two)
  • Lifestyle : Home : Expatriate (American emigrant to Britain)
  • Personal : Death : Long life more than 80 yrs (Age 96)
  • Vocation : Military : Combat
  • Vocation : Military : Military service (Flight lieutenant, WWII)
  • Vocation : Military : POW/ MIA (POW, escapee)
  • Vocation : Politics : Party Affiliation (Marxist Communist)
  • Vocation : Travel : Pilot/ military (Spitfire pilot)
  • Vocation : Writers : Fiction (Novelist)
  • Vocation : Writers : Playwright/ script
  • Vocation : Writers : Textbook/ Non-fiction
  • Notable : Awards : Public Service (MBE)
  • Notable : Famous : Founder/ originator (Co-founded the Communist Party of Britain)