William Ashwood likeness

William Ashwood cap badgePrivate William Ashwood

2nd Battalion King's Own Scottish Borderers
Service No: 17533

William Ashwood grave

1632

2

3

0

66
Personal details

Family Information

Son of the late Joseph Ashwood (1865 - 22/12/1912) and Agnes Wright Ashwood (27/08/1867 - 27/08/1919) of 154d Whifflet St, Coatbridge. Elder brother of Driver John Ashwood (93209) of the Royal Field Artillery who Died of Wounds on the 21/05/1918. The 1901 Census - Address - 10 Hospital St, Coatbridge - Joseph Ashwood 35, Agnes Ashwood 33, Lizzie Ashwood 8, William Ashwood 6, Joseph Ashwood 6, John Ashwood 5. William's Pension was awarded to his mother Agnes on the 07/08/1917. Sadly she died in 1919. William's father Joseph died in 1912.

Born / Resided

Coatbridge / 154d Whifflet St, Coatbridge.

Died

Killed in Action on the 25/09/1916 at the Battle of Morval (part of the Battles of the Somme)

Enlisted

Coatbridge Barracks 1912

Employed

Miner in Rosehall Colliery.

Age

22

Buried / Remembered

Thiepval Memorial (Pier and Face 4 A and 4 D), Somme, France.

Cemetery / Memorial Information

The memorial commemorates more than 72,000 men of British and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave, the majority of whom died during the Somme offensive of 1916. On the high ground overlooking the Somme River in France, where some of the heaviest fighting of the First World War took place, stands the Thiepval Memorial. Towering over 45 metres in height, it dominates the landscape for miles around. It is the largest Commonwealth memorial to the missing in the world. On 1 July 1916, supported by a French attack to the south, 13 divisions of Commonwealth forces launched an offensive on a line from north of Gommecourt to Maricourt. Despite a preliminary bombardment lasting seven days, the German defences were barely touched and the attack met unexpectedly fierce resistance. Losses were catastrophic and with only minimal advances on the southern flank, the initial attack was a failure. In the following weeks, huge resources of manpower and equipment were deployed in an attempt to exploit the modest successes of the first day. However, the German Army resisted tenaciously and repeated attacks and counter attacks meant a major battle for every village, copse and farmhouse gained. At the end of September, Thiepval was finally captured. The village had been an original objective of 1 July.

Additional Information

The Battalion arrived at Le Havre on the 15/08/1914 and were part of the 13th Brigade, 5th Division. William arrived in France on the 07/06/1915. William was originally posted as missing before confirmation of his death in June 1917. He was Killed in Action at the Battle of Morval, 25th – 28th September 1916 : Having broken through the prepared lines of German defence, the British force now faced a new set of challenges as it was now fighting in much flatter, open ground and approached the distant gentle slopes of the Transloy ridges. Fighting was, as before, severe but gradually the British chipped away and pushed forward. The weather began to turn autumnal, bringing rain, making the battlefield increasingly difficult and stretching men to limits of their physical endurance. This was part of the Battles of the Somme, 1st July – 18th November 1916 : A Franco-British offensive that was undertaken after Allied strategic conferences in late 1915, but which changed its nature due to the German attack against the French in the epic Battle of Verdun, which lasted from late February to November. Huge British losses on the first day and a series of fiercely-contested steps that became attritional in nature. For all armies on the Western Front it was becoming what the Germans would call “materialschlacht”: a war not of morale, will or even manpower, but of sheer industrial material might. The 15th September 1916 saw the first-ever use of tanks in the step known as the Battle of Flers-Courcelette. The British army in France is now approaching its maximum strength in numbers but is still developing in terms of tactics, technology, command and control. SEE PHOTOS x 10 FOR THE BATTALION WAR DIARY SEPTEMBER 1916 and SEE PHOTOS x 34 FOR THE 5th DIVISION BOOK JULY - OCTOBER 1916. See Directory for William's brother John's page. William is also remembered on the Whifflet United Free Church Roll of Honour (see photos). See photos for William's Medal Index Card, his Army Register of Soldiers Effects, his Service Medal and Award Rolls, his CWGC Grave Registration, William's parents and sisters Memorial Stone in Old Monkland Cemetery, William's name on the Thiepval Memorial taken by myself in July 2023, the King's Own Scottish Borderers Cap Badge and William's Pension Records x 2. Finally, see photos for Newspaper clippings x 4 (Coatbridge Express x 2, Coatbridge Leader x 1 and Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser x 1), Thiepval Memorial taken by myself on a rainy day in July 2023, myself at the Thiepval Memorial that same day and the 5th Division Order of Battle x 12 (the Division he was with when he died).

Photos
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War Diaries

The battalion War Diary is available on the National Archives website.

Creative Commons License

We have made this information and the images available under a Creative Commons BY-NC license. This means you may reuse it for non-commercial purposes only and must attribute it to us using the following statement: © coatbridgeandthegreatwar.com

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