Biography of Private Arthur Ashton (2402)
1st/5th Battalion Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby) Regiment
Died 7th November 1915

Soldier

  • Name: Arthur Ashton
  • Date of birth: 1896
  • Place of Birth: Dunsby, Linolnshire, England
  • Date of Birth Registration: January – March 1896
  • Place of Birth Registration: Bourne, Lincolnshire, England

Father

  • Name: Cornelius Ashton
  • DOB: 1862
  • Place of Birth: Morton, Lincolnshire, England
  • Occupation: Labourer on farm (Cattle)

Mother

  • Name: Alice Boyfield
  • DOB: 1868
  • Place Of Birth: Billingborough, Lincolnshire, England
  • Marriage: 1891 Billingborough, Lincolnshire, England

Siblings: (Name), (DOB), (POB)

  • Hilda Ashton, 1893, Morton
  • Cornelius Ashton, 1894, Dunsby
  • Arthur Ashton, 1896, Dunsby
  • Frederick Victor Ashton, 1897, Dunsby
  • Evelyn Mary Ashton, 1898, Dunsby
  • Alice Ashton, 1901, Dunsby

Census

  • 1901: Arthur is living with his parents in Dunsby, Lincolnshire.
  • 1911: Arthur is living with his Uncle Arthur in Folkingham Road, Morton, Lincolnshire. The census gives him an age of 15 and he is listed as a farm labourer.

Relatives in services

  • Cornelius, Arthur’s Brother also served in the Great War with the 7th Durham.
  • Arthur’s Cousin John Thomas Ashton also fought and was killed in WW1. John can be found on our page dedicated to the Morton War Memorial

Marriage

  • No marriage for Arthur has been found and because of his age we can assume that he never had the opportunity to marry.

Newspaper Mentions

  • The Derbyshire Advertiser September 17 1915
    WOUNDED
    5th Sherwoods (T.F.).
    Ashton 2402 A.

 

  • Derbyshire Advertiser and journal Saturday 18th September 1915
    WOUNDED
    5th Sherwoods (T.F.)
    Ashton 2402 A.

  • Sheffield Independent Tuesday 14th September 1915
    RANK AND FILE.
    Expeditionary Force.
    Sherwood Foresters: 5th Battalion (T.F.) Pte. A. Ashton. 2402

 

  • Grantham Journal 31st October 1914
    Off to the front – On Sunday afternoon, the people of Morton gave Arthur Ashton a good “Send-off” on his way to Essendine Station, en route to the headquarters of his regiment preparatory to joining the Expeditionary Force in France. Arthur, who joined the Regulars (the 5th Notts and Derby Regiment) only two months ago, is quite elated at being able to serve his country soon. His brother Cornelius, also a Morton man, joined the 6th Notts and Derbys. Arthur Ashton is an old chorister of Morton Church, and on Sunday his colleagues met to wish him “God speed and a safe return”. A collection was made among the members of the choir and friends gathered round at the cross-roads at the time fixed for Arthur’s departure, and a large box of cigarettes and a new purse containing a sovereign were hastily collected and given to him.

     

    • Grantham Journal November 27th 1915
      For King and Country – We regret to state that Arthur Ashton, a Morton Soldier, has been shot by a sniper. His Brother Neal Ashton, in the same Battalion, sent the sad news. Whether the shot was fatal or otherwise, his numerous friends in Morton are very anxious to learn. We understand that no official notification of his death has been received. Another name has been added to the Roll of Honour, Edwin Handford having joined the Lincolnshire Regiment.

     

    • Grantham Journal 11th December 1915
      Sad news has been received at Morton within the past few days that two of her gallant youths have laid down their lives for their country. In a previous issue, we reported that a letter had been received from Pte C Ashton, who is in France, to the effect that he was afraid that his brother Arthur had been shot by a German sniper. Upon inquiry at the War Office, the news has been officially proved to be only too true. The Parents of Thomas Fowler received a communication last week stating that their son was killed by a gunshot wound in the shoulder. He was drafted with a Mediterranean Force and death took place at Sulva on the Gallipoli Peninsula. Real heart-felt sympathy is felt for the bereaved families. Our toll of the war is now seven and we share the unenviable distinction of figuring most conspicuously in the casualty lists which concern the villages in the Bourne district. On Sunday evening last, the Parish Church was packed with parishioners who came to pay their last tributes to the three brave lads – Arthur Ashton, Thomas Fowler, Joseph Taylor (who was recently killed by a trench mortar in France). The Vicar, the Rev J.H. Boldero, read the burial service only omitting the committal portion. The lesson for the day was singularly appropriate vis., St John xiv. “Let not your heart be troubled, ”which was read by the schoolmaster, Mr. J.W. Palmer. In the course of the sermon, the vicar made a touching reference to the three lads, mentioning that they were all members of the church, and had all been in the church choir, and how, when far away, their last thoughts had been of home and the old church. The rev. gentleman spoke words of great comfort to the bereaved. The sadness was on all; the congregation mourned with the parents of the dead soldiers. At the close of the service, the National Anthem was sung, and the “Dead March” in “Saul” was played by the organist (Miss Betson). It was a beautiful service, and one that will long be remembered and the vicar’s words were most uplifting.

     

    Military Records

    Attestation Papers

    • Available

    Soldier’s Died In The Great War

    • These records show that Private Arthur Ashton, 2402, 1st/5th Bn Notts and Derby (Sherwood Foresters) Regiment was killed in action on 7th November 1915 in the Western European Theatre in France and Flanders.

    Pension Records

    • None found

    Effects Left To

    • Aunt Kate Ashton

    Medals

    • The British Medal
    • The Victory Medal
    • The 15 Star

    Memorials

    • UK:
    • Morton, Roll of Honour in St John the Baptist Church
    • Belper War Memorial Derbyshire

     

    © Family

    © Picture taken by South Lincolnshire War Memorials

    © Picture taken by South Lincolnshire War Memorials

    © Richard Pinkett

    © Richard Pinkett

    © Picture taken by South Lincolnshire War Memorials

    © Picture taken by South Lincolnshire War Memorials

    Military Service Timeline

    • In August 1914 the 1/5th Battalion Sherwood Foresters were formed in Derby as part of Notts. & Derby Brigade and in the North Midland Division.

      The Commonwealth war Graves Commission has some basic information and shows the enlistment location for Arthur Ashton as Morton. I am not sure if this is correct as his attestation records list an address in Derbyshire which would be consistent with his enlistment into the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment, The Sherwood foresters.

      On the 4th September 1914 Arthur enlisted for the Territorial Force at Derby at the age of 19 years and 7 months. This was only six weeks after war had been declared and his attestation papers show that he had no previous military service.

      Arthur passed his medical examination and was described as “fit” his description shows that he was 5 feet 9 ½ inches and had a chest of 36 inches. At this point he was assigned to the 5th battalion Notts and Derby Regiment.

      Upon mobilisation the 5th Battalion was moved to Harpenden and in November 1914 went on to Braintree for training.

      By February 1915 the battalion was ready for action and moved to Southampton to be shipped to France, where they landed at Harve on the 25th February. The Battalion was part of the first complete territorial force to link up with the British Expeditionary Force.

      On the12th of May 1915 the formation of the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th Battalions became known as the 139th (forester) Brigade in the 46th (North Midland) Division.

      On the 15th August 1915 Arthur Ashton was wounded in his right thigh and records show he was admitted at Abeele.

      The place mentioned in the report, Abeele, is a small village bisected by the border between France and Belgium. This was the site of a WW1 military airfield and we can only assume that this would be a location of Billets and possibly a military hospital. There is another entry on Arthur’s military records showing that on the 4th September 1915 he was mentioned in a report from a different source but again this mentions that he was admitted at Abeele on the 16th August 1915.

      By 22nd October 1915 Arthur was passed as fit for service and was sent back to duty in the field.

    • The maps above show the movements of the Sherwood Foresters during the tour of the front line when Arthur Ashton died. On the 6th November 1915, the 5th Battalion Sherwood Foresters started a tour and took to the trenches on the right sub-sector of the front line, south of Richbourg-L’Avoue, setting up headquarters in Albert Road. Two companies were placed in the front line, one in support and one in reserve, a position they were to hold until being relieved on the 10th November.Arthur saw his final action on the 7th of November 1915 when he was killed by a sniper aged 19. His brother Neal (Cornelius) is reported to have written home saying that he believed that Arthur of the same battalion had been shot.

    Sources

    • WW1 Soldier’s Records (www.ancestry.co.uk)
    • British Newspaper Archive.
    • Fold 3
    • Find My Past
    • Genealogist
    • Forces War Records
    • British Army Service Numbers
    • War Gratuity Calculator
    • Commonwealth War Graves Commission
    • National Archives – Battalion War Diaries
    • General Registry Office

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