William Herbert Ashley


Birth Date:
.. ... 1896
Death Date:
Service Branch:
Royal Engineers, telegraphist and wireless operator
Service Number:

1896 William Herbert Ashley, born 54 Beulah Road, Sutton, Surrey, was educated at Crown Road School, Sutton. Aged 14 in 1911, he worked as a junior clerk at a Fireworks factory. 1915 he was living 103 Thorpe Bank Road, Shepherds Bush, aged 18. He enlisted with the Royal Engineers and trained as a wireless operator and served in Salonica and Madras. He survived the war and was demobilised on 28th August 1919; British War Medal, Victory Medal.

What follows is an Autobiographical extract from a letter written by William Herbert Ashley from Town Hall, Kensington, 7 Sept 1925, and included in his ‘burnt documents’ service records file; [1]

‘Joined Royal Engineers at Chatham 29th Ju[ne 1915] as a pioneer to train as a telegraphist and wi[reless] operator. After completing training at Aberde… Biggleswade and Worcester, sent to Salonica in… 1917, and subsequently to Mudros [Madras?], as Wireless … No. 3, G.H.Q., Wireless Observation Group.

So far as my memory serves me I received … proficiency pay as a Sapper towards the end of … and was promoted to Lance, Second and full Cor[poral] … over the period from the latter part of 1917 t[o the] end of 1918, eventually being demobilised at t… Palace on the 28th August, 1919’

William Herbert was living in the Kensington area 1925 but no more is known about his susequent life or descendants.

The father of William Herbert was Joseph William Ashley, born 1859, Bath, Somerset.

Joseph William was a police constable who married a second cousin, Eliza Mary Ashley of Edington, Wiltshire, on 2nd August 1884 at St. Saviour, Pimlico. He gave his address as 148, Jackbrook Street. The grandfathers were Ashley brothers from Wiltshire. 

By 1891 the couple with four daughters were living on Beulah Road, Sutton Surrey, where they lived for over twenty years, first at no 54 and later at no 33 Beulah Road. They were married for 26 years and had eight children, seven surviving until 1911 at which time Joseph William had retired from the police force. In 1915 Joseph William was resident 103 Thorpe Bank Road, Shepherds Bush, when he gave consent for his son William Herbert to join the Royal Engineers. 

[1] WO363 First World War service records ‘burnt documents’ – Ashley, W H. 103988, Royal Engineers 1915, accessed via findmypast.com 06.09.2016

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