William Charles Ashton

Date of birth: 1891
Place of birth: Southampton
Service No.: 26037
Rank: Lance Corporal
Regiment: Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry
Battalion: 2nd
Died: 23rd October 1918 aged 27 years
Death location: Vertain, France

 

Life before the War
William was one of 4 siblings born to Joseph William and Elizabeth Sarah, nee Morris.  One of their daughters died very young and she is unknown.

Joseph was born in Southampton in 1862 and he died in the city in 1919.  Elizabeth was born in Wilton, Salisbury in 1863 and died in Southampton in 1932.  They were married in Southampton in 1887 and ran the Greyhound Hotel (in Bridge St. possibly) for a time around the 1911 census  This may have been the old Greyhound public house near the University of Southampton.

They eventually settled at 73 Wilton Avenue, Shirley.

William’s surviving siblings – 2 sisters who were both born and died in Southampton – were:

Helena Elizabeth   b.1889 and d.1920

Emily Ethel   b.1894 and d.1950.  Married Percy G Rowthorn in Southampton in 1925.

 

War Service
The 2nd Battalion lost 632 men in the first 5 months of the war, many of them during the First Battle of Ypres.  A further 400 were lost during the Battle of Festubert, fought in mid May 1915.

1916 brought more casualties during the Battle of the Somme.  The Battalion was then sent to the back lines around Arras for some respite in early 1917 before the battle for that town in April / May 1917.

William lost his life when the town of Vertain was captured by the 24th Royal Fusiliers (2nd Div), to which the 2nd Ox & Bucks must have been attached.

He rests in the Vertain Communal Cemetery Extension, France (A, 2).  The cemetery holds 52 Commonwealth graves from WW1.

William’s headstone reads:  “Only son of Elizabeth and the late Joseph W. Ashton of Southampton.  At rest.”

 

Researcher: Mark Heritage
Published: 5th June 2015
Updated: Insert dates here

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