Private James Robert Ashby
War dead Male Born 1876 Died 18/11/1916
James Robert Ashby was born in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, the second of the eight children of William Thomas Ashby (1840-1887) and Eliza Ashby née Gibbard (1850-1930). His birth was registered in the 1st quarter of 1876 in the Watford registration district. On 5 March 1876 he was baptised in Rickmansworth.
His elder brother was William Frederick George Ashby (1875-1915). His next three brothers were sadly to die in infancy, Albert John Ashby (1877-1878), George Ashby (1879-1880) and Ephraim Ashby (1879-1881).
In the 1881 census he is shown as a scholar, living at West End, Rickmansworth, with his parents and elder brother. His father was described as a postman. Three further siblings were born, Henry Samuel Ashby (1881-1890), David Albert Ashby (1883-1962) and Lucy Frances Ashby (1887-1963).
On 11 August 1893 he enlisted as a Private in The Princess Charlotte of Wales's (Royal Berkshire Regiment), service number 3872. On 14 November 1895 he was posted with his regiment to Halifax, Canada, and on 24 October 1897 to the West Indies. They returned to the barracks in Reading Berkshire, on 19 November 1898 but they were then sent to Cape Colony, South Africa on 31 December 1898, where he saw action in the regiments' 2nd Battalion in the Second Boer War for which he received the Queen's South Africa Medal with three clasps, Cape Colony, Orange Free State and Transvaal.
On 4 October 1902 he returned to England and left the army. On 2 November 1902 he married Elizabeth Seal (1876-1961) in All Saints Church, Hatcham Park, 105 New Cross Road, London SE14, where the marriage register shows him as a plasterer.
They had four children, Elizabeth Frances Ashby (1903-1978), James William Ashby (1906-1979), Albert Charles Ashby (1908-1909) and Albert Ashby (1910-1958). When the 1911 census was undertaken he described himself as a labourer employed by the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway, living at 53 Eugenia Road, Rotherhithe, with his wife and their three surviving children.
On the outbreak of World War One he returned to his regiment and was allocated a service number of 10385 but was later transferred to their 37th Training Reserve Battalion and his service number became TR/8/16146. He was billeted at 9 Queen Street, Tiverton, Devon, and died of pneumonia in hospital, aged 40 years, on 18 November 1916, his death being registered in the 4th quarter of 1916 in the Tiverton registration area.
On 25 November 1916 he was buried in Plot D, Grave 3184 in the Lewisham (Ladywell) Cemetery, 113 Brockley Grove, London, SE4 1DZ. His army effects totalling £5-11s-11d were sent to his widow by 31 July 1917 and she was sent his £5-10s-0d war gratuity on 8 October 1919 at 16, Miall Road, Lower Sydenham, London.
He is also commemorated in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's website.