Lieut. 2nd Battalion Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derbys) Regiment
Died 20th Sept 1914, aged 28
Remembered at Chauny Communal Cemetery, British Extension
& on both Blakeney War Memorials
Basil Claudius Ash was born 25th April 1886 Hampstead, Middlesex where his parents had a home at 2 Parkhill Road. He was the 4rd and last son and 7th child in a family of 8 children born to Claudius James Ash (born London 1848-1922) and his first wife Alice Emma Whitestone (born London 1852-1897). His siblings were Percy Claude Matchwick, Alice Ethel, Berkeley Noel, Dorothea, Gerald Beaumont, Norah Muriel and Madeline Edith Ash, all born in Middlesex.
After the death of his mother, his father married Louisa Margaret Loynes 1900. She was born in Wells (1868) and died in Bournmouth, Dorset (1961). There were no children to this marriage.
Claudius Ash was a prosperous Merchant and Manufacturer of Mineral Teeth and Dental Materials. With Louisa, he had a second home, Quay House, in Blakeney. This house, immediately west of Blakeney Hotel, was purchased from Charles Johnson Temple-Lynes on July 18th 1906 being part of a much larger estate situated in Blakeney, Langham and Wiveton. The house with surrounding gardens was valued at £1,058. A few years later in 1911, Claudius Ash bought the Manorial Lordships from the Calthorpe Auction and thus became the new Lord of the Manor after many generations of Calthorpes.
The 1901 Census shows that Basil, aged 14, was a pupil at Uppingham School, Rutland. The De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour relates that Basil was; “gazetted 2nd Lieut. Sherwood Foresters, from the Militia 20 March, 1907, and promoted Lieut. 5 June 1909, being employed with the Nigerian Regt., West African Frontier Force, from the following Oct, until the outbreak of war; served with the Expeditionary Force in France and Flanders, and was killed in action 20 Sept. 1914.” No Service Records have been found for Basil Ash, only his Medal Card.
However from the records of the Sherwood Foresters it is surmised that he was stationed with them in Sheffield before being moved to Cambridge at the outbreak of war, August 1914. The regiment was mobilized from there, 11.9.1914, landing at St. Nazaire for engagement on the Western Front. Basil lost his life just nine days later at Troyon, France during the Battle of the Aisne. He was the first casualty of the Great War from Blakeney. Of his three brothers, Percy and Gerald are both known to have served and survived; Percy,born 1875, was a Captain serving in the 8th London Regiment at the outbreak of war. He rose to the rank of Major in the Post Office Rifles, serving in France where he was severely wounded. Gerald, born 1883, was a Captain with the Royal Medical Corps (Dental) and according to his Medal Card, served in Egypt from 2.7.1915. Both brothers returned home safely although Percy was injured for life having been shot through his lung.