What Did You Do In The Great War Granddad?
Walter Samuel Ashby was born on
Name: Walter Samuel Ashby
Chapel Ends (A
short distance from
Trade or Occupation: Boiler Cleaner
Age: 18 years 11months
Height: 5 foot 7¾
Weight: 126lbs. (9st)
Chest Measurement 34½ inches
Chest Expansion 2 inches
Physical Development Good
Vaccination Marks None
When Vaccinated Not
Vision R. Eye D/8
Vision L. Eye D/8
Marks indicating congenital
Peculiarities or previous
Slight Defect but not
Sufficient to cause
Rejection Teeth slightly defective
Assigned to: Royal Warwickshire Regiment
Regt. No 2785
Rank: Private but became Lance Corporal.
After basic training he became part of
He arrived the following day and was sent straight to help defend
positions on the
Because of overwhelming German numbers the odds were stacked against the British Forces and they were forced to retreat. Later, all soldiers who were in the British Expeditionary Force were awarded a medal known as the Mons Star but only survivors of this battle were awarded a Mons Star with bar.
Out of the frying pan and into the fire went Walter Ashby as the following April saw him at the 2nd Battle of Yepre.
At sunrise on 22nd April 1915 a greenish-yellow mist began to roll across no-mans’ land. British soldiers had not previously experience chemical warfare and at first thought it to be Spring Smog and watched as it rolled in. It covered, in all, four miles of trenches and killed 10,000 people. It was the first time the German had used gas, at the Western Front, and had released 5,700 canisters, containing 168 tons of Chlorine Gas.
The lucky ones were temporarily blinded or had respiratory problems but thousands of others died of asphyxiation. Walter Ashby was one of those affected by the gas and it was to have lifelong consequences. At times he was breathless and in the 1930’s, twenty years after the Battle of Yepre, during the construction of his home, Woodside Bungalow, Old Denaby, he refused to allow gas to be installed or the use of ventilation bricks.
Despite the effects of gas he was expected to fight on until
Shrapnel Wounds to: Left Arm, Right Arms and Left Groin
Gun Shot Wound Through Abdomen
He was transported, by ship, to a hospital in
He was discharged from here, on light duties, on
As he had been allocated light duties it is feasible to assume that he would be assigned to the Labour or Pioneer Section of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. The thick clinging mud and the filthy conditions of the roads, caused horses, pulling the carts which carried the shells to the front, to sink upto their bellies and motorised Lorries were little of no use, so the vast majority of men in the Labour or Pioneer Units were used to transport shells by hand. As they could not easily defend themselves they became ‘sitting ducks’ for the German marksmen, many being killed by enemy shellfire and it was common to be wounded by shrapnel.
Then, with unhealed wounds from the Battle of Ypres, and because there is only that date which corresponds to his wounds, I believed he walked straight into the Battle of Verdun. where he was yet again wounded. The report given by the Field Hospital states his wounds as follows:
Registered at Field Hospital
Many of those, no longer able to fight for their country, from the Royal Warwickshire Regt., was transferred. On 2nd September 1916 Lance Corporal, Walter Samuel Ashby, Regt. No. 2785 of the Royal Warwickshire Regt. became: Lance Corporal Walter Samuel Ashby, Regt. No.32010 of the 1st Home Service Garrison Battalion of the Royal Berkshire Regiment,
The uprising began with 1,200 armed men. Their ambition was to capture all the most prominent buildings in Dublin and although they successfully seized some, the main one being the General Post Office, they failed to capture or threaten, the most important building, the castle, which was the headquarter of the British Administration in Ireland.
The British response was severe, the rebellion, being supported by
were captured and executed, whereas others were imprisoned in Prison
Ships situated at main eastern Irish ports such as
The 3rd Battalion of the Royal Leinster Regiment was a reserve
battalion, their function being that of a depot and training unit. It was originally stationed at Birr, central
Although the work accomplished by this depot was only light, by military
standards, Walter Ashby was still having medical problems, caused by the
stomach wound he received in 1915. He
was having problems digesting solid food and as a consequence could not
maintain an adequate weight, and as he was only 9st. at the beginning of the
war he must have been almost skeletal by 1918, also the wound constantly
wept. At last on
He returned home to
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