Born in 1891 at Walthamstow, son of Henry (Baker) and Janet Ashley. 1901: A Scholar with his family at 57 Gaywood Road, Walthamstow. 1911: A Baker with his family at 28 Blenheim Road, Cann Hall. In September 1914 he married Bessie May Eagles and their home was at 2 Lytton Terrace, Granville Road, South Woodford.
This was his address when he attested for the Army on 20th November 1915; under the Derby Scheme he was placed in the Army Reserve from 21st November 1915 to 6th April 1916 and allowed to continue his occupation of Insurance Agent. He was called to begin training on 7th April 1916, and remained in the UK until 7th December 1916. Embarking from Folkestone during 8th December 1916, he arrived in Boulogne the same day. He underwent further training, and a number of health problems saw him in and out of various medical facilities.
7 Northamptonshire Regiment was the Huntingdon Cyclists Battalion, and they were involved in the fighting following the launch of the German Spring Offensive in March 1918. The ferocity of the offensive pushed the British lines back, and the situation became serious enough to warrant the issue of a general ‘resist at all costs’ order.
During this period Henry Ashley was fatally injured in action in the area of Le Verquier 5 miles north west of St. Quentin. He was taken to the Field Hospital at Seboncourt where he died from a fractured skull. The records indicate he was buried initially by the Germans in Seboncourt Civil Cemetery, being concentrated to Premont British Cemetery in the post war years.
During the 1920s, Bessie could be found living at “Rydale” Hurst Road, Buckhurst Hill. Henry’s file contains a very badly faded and mostly illegible letter from 1925 which seeks a replacement memorial scroll for Bessie, the other having somehow become spoiled. It was accepted that payment would be required. However the short response from the Army indicated that unfortunately regulations did not permit the reissuing of certificates, so the spoiled one could not be replaced.
Research by Adrian Lee, Local Historian