Pte ROBERT ASHLEY
Died of Sickness 25 March 1917
Robert Ashley was born in Chiswick on 11 January 1897, and baptised at St Michael and All Angels Church by Revd. Alfred Wilson on 31 January the same year. He was the eldest son of a bricklayer’s labourer, Robert Ashley who had also been born in Chiswick in about 1875. Robert (senior) had married 19 year old Lucy Tucker, the girl next door, in February 1894, also at St. Michael’s. In his turn, his father, also Robert, had been a Chiswick resident all his life as well. They all had lived at Chapel Place for many years.
In 1911, the family lived at 4 Chapel Place. Robert had by then two siblings: Henry, born 1900, and Frederick, born 1903. Robert aged 14 had a job as a News Boy. His father remained a labourer, and his mother was an Ironer at the local laundry.
It is likely that Robert did not become a soldier until conscription had been introduced in 1916, as he had only became 18 then. There are no available Service Records, but we know he joined the Army Service Corps as a Driver, at Aldershot with Regimental number T/220323 and served in No.2 Depot Motor Transport Company, RASC, based in England. There is no evidence that he served in any overseas theatre of war.
He died of an acute illness at the Military Hospital, Tidworth on 25 November 1917. He was aged 20 and unmarried. Since he had not involved in any front line service, he was not eligible for any Death Gratuity.
Robert is commemorated at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s War Cross at the Old Cemetery, Chiswick, facing the Corney Road entrance. His name is engraved on the screen that backs the cross, among those whose names are not marked by the 53 scattered headstones in the graveyard proper.