Herbert Henry Ashbolt

Date of birth: 1897
Place of birth: Southampton
Service No.: 14990
Rank: Private
Regiment: Dorsetshire
Battalion: 6th (Service)
Died: 30th January 1917 aged 19 or 20 years
Death location: The Somme


Life before the War
On the face of it, this is a simple case of 5 siblings being born to Henry Herbert and Bertha Ann, nee Gregory.  However all is not as it seems.  Both Herbert Henry and his brother Charles John were born illegitimately to Bertha prior to her marriage to Henry in 1899.

At the 1901 census Herbert and Charles are described as “visitors” to the Ashbolt house, with the surname “Gregory”.

It appears that Henry adopted the two boys after the census, but that is not the end of the twists.

Both parents were born in Southampton, Henry in 1874 and Bertha in 1877.  There is no further evidence of them after the 1901 census.  At the 1911 census both parents have ostensibly disappeared because all five children are in a school attached to the Southampton Union workhouse in St. Mary Street.

Herbert’s 4 younger brothers were:

Charles John   b.1898 Southampton and d.1973 Winchester, New Hampshire, USA.
Married Violet L Goulden in Southampton in 1918. There is evidence of both Charles and Violet living in the USA in 1930 when, on the 24th May, a son Kenneth H was born.  Kenneth died on 2nd January 1995 in Oklahoma.

William George   b.1900 Southampton and d.1985 Southampton.
Married Violet G Ward in Southampton in 1924.

James Henry   b.1902 Southampton and d.1967 New Forest.
Married Lillie Knowlton in Southampton in 1926.

Leonard George   b.1904 Southampton and d.1977 Southampton.
Married Rosa M Spencer in Southampton in 1929.



War Service
The 6th Battalion were formed at Dorchester on 6th September 1914 as part of the New Army K2.  They moved to Wareham and were initially attached, as Army Troops, to the 17th (Northern) Division.  They were transferred to the 50th Brigade of the sane Division in March 1915 and moved to Romsey, in the May, to prepare for mobilisation.


The Battalion landed at Boulogne on 14th July 1915 and spent most of the war around the Somme.


In September 1916 two Clearing Stations were established at a place the Allies called Grove Town. These were to deal with casualties from the Somme battlefields.


Herbert probably succumbed to injuries inflicted during the final phases of the Battle of the Somme, maybe around the Ancre Valley.  He was one of the last soldiers to be laid to rest in the Grove Town Cemetery, Meaulte, France (Plot II, Row M, Grave 39).  There are 1395 WW1 Commonwealth graves in the cemetery. The two Clearing Stations were moved in April 1917 and the cemetery closed.


Researcher: Mark Heritage
Published: 31st May 2015
Updated: Insert dates here

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