Sidney James Ashley was born 1888, Battersea, London, the second son of Elah Edward Ashley and Alice Ann [nee Howard]. When Sidney was three his father died and between 1891-1901 he spent some years in a workhouse. 1911, he was single, working as a porter for the L.S.W. railway and living with his widowed mother and elder brother Albert George Ashley who also worked for L.S.W. as a coach painter.
Sidney James Ashley first served in the 22nd London Regiment, service no. 684153. He was then recorded with the 2nd (City of London) Battalion (Royal Fusiliers), Private, service no. 245484. He was killed in action age 31, 28 March 1918, Pas de Calais, dedication Arras Memorial, Bay 9. No marriage or descendants have been identified for him.
This Ashley family can be traced back to Edington, Wiltshire. Several family members were skilled craftsmen in stone or wood carving and at least three individuals migrated to London and found employment as curators at the National Gallery, London before 1911. The father of Sidney James, Elah Edward Ashley, was not one of those, he was born 1843, Bath, Somerset and found employment first as a painter. By 1871 he was a railway porter, single and boarding at Ponsonby Place, Westminster, London in the same dwelling as his brother Sidney [later a civil servant and curator] and his family.
1877 Elah married Alice Ann Howard from Canterbury and the two sons were born [possibly 4 children born in total, with 2 dying]. 1891 Elah was employed as a railway guard and he died shortly after the census was taken in that year. The marriage had lasted fourteen years.
Reference: GRO War Deaths Army Other Ranks (1914-21) transcript; Commonwealth War Graves Commission; Census 1871-1911; Soldiers died in the Great War 1914-1919 transcript, findmypast accessed 05.10.2016.