Orders, Decorations and Medals (25 September 2008)

Date of Auction: 25th September 2008

Sold for £260

Estimate: £140 - £160

Pair: Private R. Ashton, Cheshire Regiment, who was killed in action with the 1st Battalion at Ypres in March 1915

Queen’s South Africa 1899-1902, 2 clasps, Cape Colony, Orange Free State (4285 Pte., Cheshire Regt.); King’s South Africa 1901-02, 2 clasps, South Africa 1901, South Africa 1902 (4285 Pte., Cheshire Regt.), minor official correction to unit on the first, very fine and better (2) £140-160


Robert Ashton was born in Marple, Cheshire and enlisted in the Cheshire Regiment in September 1899, aged 18 years. Actively employed in South Africa with the 4th (Militia) Battalion from February 1900 until May 1902, he was discharged in September 1905. Re-enlisting in his old regiment on the renewal of hostilities, he was embarked for France with the 1st Battalion, and was killed in action at Ypres on 6 March 1915. The circumstances of his death were related in a letter written by Private Howe, from No. 5 General Hospital in Wandsworth, on 16 June 1915:

‘This was the worst time I had when Robert Ashton got killed. We made a charge, but we got fast in the barbed wire. They cut us down like a lot of sheep. So we had to return to our trench, what was left of us. There were only 45 left when we did get back. I had a very near shave myself. I got two bullets through my hat and one in my haversack. So you can see that I have been very lucky in getting here.’

Ashton has no known grave and is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial; accompanying research includes a copied newspaper obituary from the
North Cheshire Herald, including a portrait photograph.