Museum of the Manchester Regiment
The Men Behind the Medals

Albert Ernest Ashton

Albert Ernest Ashton :

Albert Ernest Ashton : 1914-15 Star

1914-15 Star

Albert was born in November 1888 in Penistone, near Barnsley in South Yorkshire. He was always known as Ernest. His father was called Thomas and his mother was Sarah Elizabeth. Ernest came from a large family, he had two older brothers; John Thomas and Arthur, and 5 younger siblings; Edith Annie, William Henry, Nellie, Tom and Mary Elizabeth. In 1891 the family lived at 5 Fieldsend's Yard in Penistone, and Thomas was a steel worker. By 1901 he was a general labourer. The family were members of the Wesleyan Church.

Ernest became a steel worker, and at some point he moved with his father to Cinder Hill, in Kirkburton, Yorkshire. He was living there when the First World War broke out in August 1914.

Despite being from Yorkshire, Ernest travelled to Oldham and enlisted in the 'Pals' Battalion being formed there on the 14th November 1914. Eight men from the Penistone area joined what became the 24th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment; we don't know why they enlisted in Oldham. Ernest was given the service number 14202.

When he enlisted Ernest was 26 years old. He was 5 feet 10 3/4 inches tall and weighed 188 pounds.

Over the next year Ernest and the 24th Battalion trained and prepared to go to war. The time was not all spent on military matters, however. Ernest was able to take some time away to return to Penistone and marry Ida Goldthorpe on the 24th May 1915 at the Parish Church. Ida and Ernest had known each other since they were children. Ida went to live at 13 Bridge Road, Penistone, and Ernest returned to the 24th Battalion, who were now at Grantham in Kent.

Ernest went overseas to France with the 24th Battalion. They arrived on the 9th November 1915. He was a member of III Platoon in A Company.

Ernest stayed with the 24th Battalion throughout his time in France, although this was only a short period. As well as serving in the trenches Ernest and the 24th Battalion had a variety of unglamorous but essential jobs such as digging trenches and dugouts, and repairing roads.

They were based in the Morlancourt area of France, and it was there, on the 31st March 1916, that Ernest was killed in action. He was 27 years old.

Ernest was buried in what is now called Citadel New Military Cemetery, Fricourt, in France. His modern grave reference is II. B. 10. As well as his 1914-15 Star, Ernest was awarded the British War Medal and the Allied Victory Medal for his Army service.

Whilst Ernest was overseas Ida had been receiving a separation allowance of 9 shillings (9/-) per week, as well as receiving 3 shillings and 6 pence (3/6) of Ernest's pay. After his death Ida was awarded a pension by the Army of 10/- per week, starting on the 16th October 1916. The couple had had no children; we don't know what became of Ida.

Museum of the Manchester Regiment
c/o Portland Basin Museum
Portland Place
Heritage Wharf

Telephone: 0161 342 5480
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Trustees of the Manchester Regiment Museum & Archive and Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council