Royton Roll of Honour

WILLIAM JOSEPH ASHTON
Age:33
Date of Death:18/09/1918
Rank:Private
Service No:79791
Regiment: Welsh Regiment
Unit: 11th Bn
Cemetery:
Doiran Military Cemetery
Grave Ref: III C 16


William Ashton was born in Royton in 1885 the son of Michael and Margaret. William was the second of their eight children - the others being Mary Ellen, Annie (who died as a baby in 1888), James, Frances, Martin, Margaret Ann and John. He was a Stripper & Grinder at the Royton Spinning Company the same mill as James.
On February 27th 1909 William married Bridget McHugh and they settled first at 4 New Street and then at 53 Spring Garden Street. Their first child, Annie, was born later that year followed by William in 1915. William was a member of the congregation at St.Aidan's and was also involved in the Sunday School there.

On December 8th 1915 William signed up in Royton and was mobilised in June 1916. After 3 months he was sent out to Greece to join the 13th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment which had been serving in that theatre since November of the previous year.  Shortly after his arrival there he would have received news of the death of his brother James.
Ashton was wounded in action at the First Battle of Doiran on April 23rd 1917 and didnt return to his unit until five months later. Four members of the 13th were listed as being killed in action that day. Given the actual action that day it is perhaps most likely they, and Ashton, were hit by the Bulgarian artillery barrage. The four men who were killed were:

Private Harry John Ellis (2252) from Sheffield
Private Frederick McGlynn (12409) from Hulme
Private Percy Phillipson (24154) , 20 years old, from Moss Side
Private William Wright (36615), 20 years old, from Oldham

The 13th Battalion left Greece in June 1918 to head to the front in France but just days beforehand Ashton was admitted to hospital with Scabies and Malaria. He was hospitalised until September 7th and due to the 13th Bn now being in France he was sent to join the 11th Bn Welsh Regiment who were preparing for the Third Battle of Doiran.
His transfer was made official on September 16th and two days later his battalion went over the top. This informative webpage gives details on the battle and also includes an excerpt from an officer who was there and wrote about the day 20 years later. The part pertaining to the Welsh Regiment and two others from Wales is here:

While the 60th Brigade was thus repulsed on the ridge, a Greek regiment was thrown into disorder by a counter attack on the right. At the same time the Welsh Brigade was advancing towards Grand Couronne.
No feat of arms can ever surpass the glorious bravery of those Welshmen. There was lingering gas in the Jumeaux Ravine (probably ours!) and some of the men had to fight in respirators.
Imagine if you can, what it means to fight up a hillside under a deadly fire, wearing a hot mask over your face, dimly staring through a pair of clouded goggles, and sucking the end of a rubber nozzle in your mouth. At the same time heat is pouring down on you from a brazen sky. In this plight you are called on to endure the blast of machine-gun fire, the pointed steel or bursting shell of the enemy. Nor are you called on to endure alone ; you must vigorously fire back, and vigorously assail with your own bayonet. It is as much like hell as anything you can think of.  The Welsh Fusiliers got as far as the Hilt, only half a mile below the central fortress, before being driven back by a fierce Bulgarian charge. Every officer was killed or wounded.
Following these came the 11th Welsh, who were also compelled to retire fighting. For a time, however, a few of the enemy’s trenches, full of dead or dying men, remained in our possession.
A third Welsh battalion was offered up, to perish, on that awful day. The 7th South Wales Borderers  nobly stormed up through the haze of battle until they had come near the hills of The Tassel and The Knot, Then, all at once, the haze lifted, and they were left exposed in the open to a sweeping and overwhelming fire. Melting away as they charged, a party of Welshmen ran up the slopes of Grand Couronne itself and fell dead among the rocks. Of the whole battalion, only one officer and eighteen men were alive at the end of the day. All night, unheard in the tumult of a new bombardment, wounded men were crying on the hillsides or down in the long ravines.

William Ashton was killed in action alongside 69 other men I have identified from the 11th Welsh. They were:


Private Alfred Bagnall,64008,29 years old, from Stafford
Lance Corporal Edgar James Bish,16072,24 years old, from Port Talbot    
Private Herbert Bottomley,79783,29 years old, from Colne
Private Gwilym Bowen,202649,34 years old, from Carmarthenshire
Lance Corporal George Brett,79773,from Sheffield                      
Lance Sergeant David Briley,15071,27 years old,from Cardiff
Lieutenant Alfred Reginald Brownson, from Hyde 
Private Frederick Broyden,79784,from Hulme,Manchester                    
Corporal Richard John Bunford,14644,28 years old,from Barry
Private William Crawshaw,76613,from Upper Wortley,Yorkshire 
Company Sergeant Major William Fredrick Cummins,38 years old,from London
Private Alfred Davey,26571, 25 years old,from Cardiff                    
Sergeant Frederick William Davies,63129,25 years old,from Llanelly
Private John King Dinham,206886,24 years old,from Somerset  
Private Thomas Eaton,64098,28 years old,from Glamorgan  
Private Benjamin Evans,79792,37 years old,from Salford (also ex-Manchester Regiment)                      
Private Tom Harry Fitton,206768,from Halifax                      
Private Harry Fogg,58537,22 years old,from Liverpool
Private George Edward Gibson,64010,22 years old,from Huddersfield  
Lance Corporal John Lett Gillard,14487,27 years old,from Cardiff  
Private Herbert Goodman,64007,25 years old,from Notting Hill
Private Fred Hall,79706,23 years old,from Liverpool
Private Frederick Hall,79762,from Cambridgeshire
Private Maurice Harding,58633,23 years old,from Chesham      
Private William Harris,202210,24 years old,from Morriston,Glamorgan     
Private Tom Harrison,76578,40 years old,from Leicester                  
Private Frederick Leonard Harvey,206833,from Swansea  
Private John Hellawell,58848,28 years old,from Bradford      
Private Raymond Hollinshead,76566,25 years old,from Lincolnshire      
Corporal Ernest William Houghton,64033,28 years old,from Swanage
Captain Norman Alfred Hughes,30 years old,from Llandaff.Son of the Bishop of Llandaff                   
Private Victor Gordon Reuben James,76581,21 years old,from Woolwich 
Private Glen Jeffree,203586,29 years old,from Weston-super-Mare 
Private William James Jones,48187,from Pontardawe,Glamorgan    
Private Richard William Jones,35285,23 years old,from Treharris 
Lance Corporal Lewis Jones,15932,23 years old,from Tredegar
Private Gomer Jones,63138,30 years old,from Llanelly     
Private Richard Harry Lane,47300,33 years old,from London
Private Graham George Long,48239,from Bristol                      
Private William James Lucas,63110,from Pontypridd
Private Cecil Hugh MacDonald,15397,from Penarth                    
Private William Richard Morgan Maddox,206824,22 years old,from Hereford.Was a chemist                      
Sergeant Victor James Marston,47317,from Abertillery    
Private Richard James Matthews,22994,from Cardiff                    
Private William John Moore,79790,26 years old,from County Derry    
Corporal Evan Lewis Morgan,19341,26 years old,from Tonyrefail,Glamorgan  
Private Ernest James Morris,14946,23 years old,from Cardiff    
Private William George Nicklen,51249,28 years old,from Portland     
Private William O'Neil,79710,22 years old,from Leigh
Private Wakin Price,45758,23 years old,from Neath   
Lance Corporal William Reed,15475,25 years old,from Cardiff
Lance Corporal Benjamin Oscar Rees,14717,28 years old,from Neath
Private George Rees,64073,22 years old,from Cardiff       
Private John B Roberts,14651,30 years old,from Cardiff
Private John Savage,76565,from London                      
Private Stanley Reginald Shail,15498,23 years old,from Glamorgan  
Corporal Israel Shibko,15500,36 years old,from Cardiff    
Private Amos Smith,79767,36 years old,from Hyde                      
Private Walter Southwood,201722,20 years old,from Abergavenny   
Lance Corporal Joseph Cattell Stephens,15517,22 years old,from Cardiff   
Private Horrace James Talbert,47172,21 years old,from Aberystwyth  
Private David Thomas,203441,31 years old,from Bangor     
Private Richard Thomas,50058,22 years old,from Swansea   
Private Charles Henry Twiggs,64029,24 years old,from Willesden Green  
Private Wilfred George Uren,15621,from Morriston,Glamorgan.Uren won the Military Medal                      
Private Walter Vicarage,26956,28 years old,from Swansea                  
Private William Alfred Wallace,206891,25 years old,from Stirling
Private Walter Webber,45452,from Bristol                      
Company Sergeant Major Daniel Wilkinson,18202,34 years old,from Sydenham