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Gunner J.W Ashley 282 Bde RFA Buried Etaples.


Sparky282
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Hi all

my Great Uncle died in  December 1916 at Ypres and buried in Etaples and I will visit very soon. I , sadly, have no Photos of  Him but  stories handed down and would like to make contact with anybody with links to him or his regiment at that time! 
Gunner JW Ashley
282nd Brigade D Battery RFA

Died aged 21

Any help Greatly received!

Sparky

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Hi and welcome to the forum 

Your best bet for a picture is either local press from the time, or if he was in a major company for work perhaps trade press. Eg my great uncle worked on the railways and his pic was in the rail news for his area.

Regards

Jon

 

Edited by jonbem
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He wouldn’t have died at Ypres and be buried at Etaples; he would have been evacuated to Etaples to the hospitals there after wounding or suffering from sickness. 
Michelle 

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War diaries are currently free to download after you register at the National archives. I would be looking for a few days before hand, up to a week to see if there’s any mention of woundings. (The Ernest Young in my signature who died 1/10/15 was wounded 6 days previously )  As a gunner, he’s unlikely to be named individually. 

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Hi @Sparky282 and welcome to the forum.

The additional information on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission webpage for Gunner L/21140 J.W Ashley shows him as the "Son of Mrs. A. Ashley, of 5, Verney Rd., Camberwell, London.". He is buried in the Etaples Military Cemetery, so almost certainly wsn't killed in action - Etaples was in the British Base area on the coast. https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/casualty-details/498624/j-w-ashley/

Indeed Soldiers Died in the Great War, an HMSO publication from the early 1920's, records James William Ashley as Died of Wounds. It adds that he was born and enlisted London.

Like the majority of other ranks service records his appear to have gone up in flames when the London Warehouse where they were being stored was hit by German bombs in WW2.

His Medal Index Card, (M.i.C.) - literally that, an index card raised at the relevant records office in late 1918 to keep track of the issue of medals and related correspondence, shows that he first landed in France on the 12th December 1915, entitling him to receive the 1914/15 Star, the Victory Medal and the British War Medal.

Pictures are a bit of a holy grail for many people coming to the forum and I'm afraid they can be very elusive. From my own time going through the newspapers in the local county archive there are actually more out there than people realise, the problem is the poor identification - on one visit I found a "Private Smith who is currently home on leave" and not a single clue as to who he might be.

You're first problem can be even establishing which local newspapers might have had a picture of him, (if a picture existed). Newspapers were entirely dependant on family and friends for these, so tend to end up in the newspapers they read. The many areas of London also appear to be poorly served by local titles and what does exist is seldom on line. However a couple of weeks ago while responding to another request for a picture of a man from Camberwell I did come across this old thread.

The original poster hasn't been on the forum for several years, but if you respond to this thread you will then have enough posts to try using the forum private messaging system to try and contact them to see how they got on. If they are still using the e-mail account associated with the forum then they should get notification of your message. Alternatively you could try that recent poster @chrisO to see if he has had any luck.

Additionally War Diaries for units serving in France & Flanders can currently be downloaded from the National Archive for free. You do need to sign in with your account, but if you don't have one, even that can be set up as part of placing your first order. Just click on "sign in" and follow the instructions - no financial details are required. The War Diary for 282nd Brigade, Royal Field Artillery covering October 1915 to December 1916 can be found in the National Archive catalogue here :- https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7354908

It probably won't mention him by name but will give some idea of where they were and what they were up to, and probably when they were taking casualties.

I would also recommend you edit the title to reference his unit to attract the attention of the Royal Artillery experts.

Hope that helps,
Peter

Edited by PRC
Typo
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  • Michelle Young changed the title to Gunner J.W Ashley 282 Bde RFA Buried Etaples.
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I’ve edited the title as per Peters suggestion. 

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45 minutes ago, Michelle Young said:

He wouldn’t have died at Ypres and be buried at Etaples; he would have been evacuated to Etaples to the hospitals there after wounding or suffering from sickness. 
Michelle 

You are absolutely correct Michelle. He had leg wounds in Ypres and transferred to etaples hospital then died later from gangareen.

many thanks

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42 minutes ago, PRC said:

Hi @Sparky282 and welcome to the forum.

The additional information on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission webpage for Gunner L/21140 J.W Ashley shows him as the "Son of Mrs. A. Ashley, of 5, Verney Rd., Camberwell, London.". He is buried in the Etaples Military Cemetery, so almost certainly wsn't killed in action - Etaples was in the British Base area on the coast. https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/casualty-details/498624/j-w-ashley/

Indeed Soldiers Died in the Great War, an HMSO publication from the early 1920's, records James William Ashley as Died of Wounds. It adds that he was born and enlisted London.

Like the majority of other ranks service records his appear to have gone up in flames when the London Warehouse where they were being stored was hit by German bombs in WW2.

His Medal Index Card, (M.i.C.) - literally that, an index card raised at the relevant records office in late 1918 to keep track of the issue of medals and related correspondence, shows that he first landed in France on the 12th December 1915, entitling him to receive the 1914/15 Star, the Victory Medal and the British War Medal.

Pictures are a bit of a holy grail for many people coming to the forum and I'm afraid they can be very elusive. From my own time going through the newspapers in the local county archive there are actually more out there than people realise, the problem is the poor identification - on one visit I found a "Private Smith who is currently home on leave" and not a single clue as to who he might be.

You're first problem can be even establishing which local newspapers might have had a picture of him, (if a picture existed). Newspapers were entirely dependant on family and friends for these, so tend to end up in the newspapers they read. The many areas of London also appear to be poorly served by local titles and what does exist is seldom on line. However a couple of weeks ago while responding to another request for a picture of a man from Camberwell I did come across this old thread.

The original poster hasn't been on the forum for several years, but if you respond to this thread you will then have enough posts to try using the forum private messaging system to try and contact them to see how they got on. If they are still using the e-mail account associated with the forum then they should get notification of your message. Alternatively you could try that recent poster @chrisO to see if he has had any luck.

Additionally War Diaries for units serving in France & Flanders can currently be downloaded from the National Archive for free. You do need to sign in with your account, but if you don't have one, even that can be set up as part of placing your first order. Just click on "sign in" and follow the instructions - no financial details are required. The War Diary for 282nd Brigade, Royal Field Artillery covering October 1915 to December 1916 can be found in the National Archive catalogue here :- https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7354908

It probably won't mention him by name but will give some idea of where they were and what they were up to, and probably when they were taking casualties.

I would also recommend you edit the title to reference his unit to attract the attention of the Royal Artillery experts.

Hope that helps,
Peter

Thank you so much for all your time and info.

Many Thanks

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Wounds sustained in the richly manured fields of Flanders often got a condition called  gas gangrene, noting to do with the gas that most people think about but caused by the clostridium welchii  bacillus puffing up tissues, and causing a hollow sound when tapped. Amputation was used, but often it was too late. @Dai Bach y Sowldiwr will be able to add more I’m sure. 

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3 minutes ago, Michelle Young said:

Wounds sustained in the richly manured fields of Flanders often got a condition called  gas gangrene, noting to do with the gas that most people think about but caused by the clostridium welchii  bacillus puffing up tissues, and causing a hollow sound when tapped. Amputation was used, but often it was too late. @Dai Bach y Sowldiwr will be able to add more I’m sure. 

Nothing else to add to your succinct reply Michelle, other than to say that in our cozy modern world, we forget that the numbers of deaths from such infections in the pre-antibiotic era were just horrendous.

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Welcome to the Forum,

His Regimental number of L/21140 puts him enlisting in one of the Camberwell brigades of 33rd Division around May 10, 1915.
I would say more specifically B Battery, 167th (Howitzer) Brigade RFA, as that left 33rd Division on February 14, 1916 joining 56th Division.
For a while that battery became C Battery, 283rd (Howitzer) Brigade RFA but on May 26, 1916 it became D Battery, 282 Brigade RFA.
This is the likely sequence of events but there is a chance it might not be so. You should look at Camberwell newspapers of the time.

Edited by David Porter
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