JOHN WILLIAM ASHTON
Date of Death:04/09/1917
Regiment: Lancashire Fusiliers
Unit :1st/8th Bn.
Memorial: Tyne Cot Memorial
Panel Ref:Panel 55A
John Ashton was born in Oldham in 1896 to parents Andrew and Janet. He spent his early years in Oldham, the family was living at Wallshaw Street in 1901. At some point between then and the 1911 census the Ashton's moved to 8 Houghton Street in Royton. Living next door was John Wilson. John Ashton had four younger sisters - Florrie,Gladys,Emily and Edna May. John's father Andrew worked as a Cotton Mule Spinner and he himself followed the career path common to most Royton children and by the age of 14 he himself was also working in a mill, in his case the Grape. John was a member of St.Anne's Church.
Ashton's service record is not still in existence but it is known that he was originally in the Manchester Regiment and his service number (4452) indicates he either had joined up in 1914 during the first couple of months of the war or was in one of the territorial battalions after that point. It seems more likely that he joined up after 1914. At some point after that he was transferred to the Lancashire Fusiliers and it was whilst serving with them that he was killed in 1917. 10 other men from the 1st/8th Battalion are registered as being killed in action on the same day as Ashton and two of them have similar service numbers and also were ex Manchester Regiment with similar service numbers again. This suggests that at some point a fair amount of men were transferred together along with Ashton.
The official history of the Lancashire Fusiliers mentions only that the battalion were in the line at Frezenberg near Beck House. A small patrol under Sergeant Finney went out that day but there is no mention of casualties.
The other men who died on the same day as Ashton included 3 Oldhamers:
Corporal James Evans - 306880 - from Oldham
Private William Evans - 306274 - from Cheetham Hill
Private Robert Grey - 325096 - from Morpeth
Private John Winterbottom Hill - 307267 - from Oldham (was 4343 Manc Reg)
Private Thomas Hodgson - 307273 - from Oldham (was 4327 Manc Reg)
Corporal Richard Massey - 305984 - 22 years old - from Salford
Private Harold Midgley - 325117 - 19 years old - from Hebden Bridge
Private William Procter - 306731 - from Lower Broughton
Private John Pyper - 325084 - from Northumberland
Private George Thomas Setchell - 325049 - 21 years old - from Suffolk
John's inscription at Tyne Cot