On 20th April we remember Morton man, John Thomas Ashton who was killed this day in 1917.

John Thomas Ashton was born in Morton, Lincolnshire in c 1894.
His birth was registered in Bourne in the December quarter of 1894 indicating a birth between October and December of that year.

John was the second child of William Ashton an agricultural labourer from Morton and his wife Lizzie Cox.

John’s father, William, was born in Morton c1866. He married Elizabeth Cox in 1890, she was born in Stainfield c1869. This marriage was registered in the Bourne District but it is likely that this could have taken place in Morton. Elizabeth had a daughter Gertrude Cox b c1888 in Stainfield who was living with them in 1891.

The children of William and Lizzie are:
William Edward c1893,
John Thomas 1894 (WW1; 8th Bn Lincolnshire Regiment)
Albert c1898
Doris Cathleen c1905

Arthur Ashton, the cousin of John Thomas is also mentioned on the Morton Memorial having been killed in action in November 1915.

On the 1911 census John Thomas was living on Hanthorpe Road, Morton aged 16 with his parents.

John is next mentioned in a clipping from the Grantham Journal from 3rd October 1914 listing all the men who volunteered in Morton and Haconby.

The Soldiers Died in the Great War records show John’s place of residence as Morton Lincolnshire.

Other comments on the CWGC records show that John was the Son of William and Lizzie Ashton, of Hanthorpe, Morton, Bourne, Lincolnshire.

Military History

Although his full name is John Thomas Ashton, all war office records show a name of Thomas Ashton. There is no doubt that this is the same person as reference is made to his parent’s names on the CWGC records.

The War office records allude to the fact that Thomas Ashton was formerly T/2/11246 of the Army Service Corps.

Thomas entered into France, his first theatre of action, on the 9th of May 1915.

Currently we are unable to track down the war office records for Thomas Ashton and so his movements within France between May 1915 and April 1917 are unknown.

It is known that Thomas Ashton Died on the 20th April 1917, age 21. This date falls between the 1st battle of The Scarpe (A river just to the north of Arras) 9th -14th April and the Second Battle of The Scarpe 23rd & 24th April 1917. Both of these battles saw heavy action for the 8th Battalion of the Lincolnshire Regiment and it has to be assumed that Thomas died as a result of action in the first battle.

The 8th Battalion diary entry for this period offers the following:-
9/4/17 Bn moved into ARRAS to assembly area 12 noon – Battery Valley see appendix marked .1.

10/4/17 Bn attacked commanded by Major Greatwood
Casualties, Officers wounded 9, other ranks killed 30, wounded 187, missing 8.

12/4/17 Bn withdrawn from line and moved into ARRAS.

13/4/17 Bn moved to DUISANS and billeted there one night.

14.4.17 Bn moved to billets in BEAUFORT.

It is reasonable to assume that John Thomas Ashton was one of the wounded or more likely missing on the 10th April. The fact that he has no know grave and is listed on the Arras Memorial would point to him being one of the missing.

Private Thomas Ashton 43328, 8th Battalion, The Lincolnshire Regiment, was eligible for the following medals:-
Victory Medal
The British Medal
The 1915 Star.

From the Commonwealth War Graves Commission we know that John was serving in the 8th Battalion, The Lincolnshire Regiment, when he was killed on 17th April 1917

Memorial

Private John Thomas (Thomas) Ashton 43328, 8th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment, is remembered with honour on the Arras Memorial.
Panel Ref: Bay 3 and 4.

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