August 29, 1919 - October 19, 1944
Ronald Alastair Gaskin was born in Montreal, Quebec to Dennis C. Gaskin and Helen (nee McDonald) Gaskin. He had two brothers: Victor and Neal. He was educated in Toronto and in Windsor, Ontario. The family was Presybterian. He had been a collection manager prior to his enlistment. He joined the RCAF in July 1941 and trained at Goderich and Camp Borden, receiving his Pilot's Flying Badge in August 1942. He married Miss Marie McConnell in March 1943. Together they had a daughter, Louise. Marie remarried many years later to John Russell who predeceased her in 1998. Marie had been a preschool teacher, then worked as a fashion illustrator.
He was posted to many stations including Victoriaville, QC, Jarvis, Ontario, Lethbridge, Alberta, Sea Island, BC, where he flew the Hurricane and Kittyhawk. He was sent overseas in May 1944, flying Spitfires and Typhoons.
In July 1944, in The Windsor Star, it was reported that Gaskin, his wife and daughter returned to Windsor a few months earlier after residing near Vancouver, BC, as P/O Gaskin had served with the Western Command for a year and a half. He had had a reunion with his brother, P/O Victor Gaskin, in London, England 'recently,' according to the article.
Gaskin was flying Typhoon 1B MN851 on October 19, 1944 on an armed recce in the area of Goch-Wesel-Kempen. Three sections, Red, Blue, and Yellow took off from B.80 at 1545 hours. At 1630 hours, a train was sighted three miles east of Grefrath, moving west. S/L Edwards instructed Blue and Yellow sections to orbit while his section (Red) attacked. He carried out a normal attack from 8000 to 2000 feet and as he climbed away, he saw Red 2, F/O Gaskin, crash on the ground and explode about 100 yards from the train. No anti-aircraft fire was seen in the target area by any of the sections.
Gaskin was affectionately known as 'Gus', but also was known as Ron. He was buried in a churchyard in Neukirchen for enemy airmen, said an extract from a German document. His body was later interred in Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany.
An investigation into Gaskin's death was done, as it was difficult to track down the Typhoon. It was determined that most likely, he was shot down by friendly fire. It was hypothesized that one aircraft was flying very high and fired on the train with its guns, whilst an aircraft flying much lower flew into the fire of his comrade and was shot down. It was felt that the pilot was probably under the ruins of his Typhoon.
in November 1946, P/O Gaskin's name was included on a plaque at Walkerville Collegiate to honour those who gave their lives.