Arthur John Ashby was a native of Rugby who married in Essex, came to Chelmsford and lived in Park Road. He joined the army was killed in action in May 1918.

Arthur was the son of Thomas Ashby and Mary Ashby (nee Warwick) and was born in 1883 in Rugby, Warwickshire. His father had been born in Shadwell in Leicestershire around 1843; his mother in Braunston. Northamptonshire about 1841. His parents had married on 11th July 1865 at the St. Matthew’s church in Rugby. Arthur was baptised there on 28th January 1883. At that time his father was a an engine driver living Rugby.

Arthur’s siblings (all Rugby-born) included Flora Emily Ashby (born in 1865), Frederick William Ashby (born in 1867), Ellen Ashby (born in 1868), and Thomas Ashby (born in 1870).

The 1891 census found eight year-old Arthur living with his parents and two siblings at 38 Queen Street in Rugby. At the time his father was a railway engine driver. A decade later the next census found Arthur aged 18 living with his parents at the same address. His father remained employed as a locomotive engine driver, while Arthur was a carpenter’s apprentice.

Arthur’s father died in 1904.

In 1911 Arthur was recorded by the census lodging with Elizabeth Louisa Canham in a property in Bexwell Road, Downham Market in Norfolk. Aged 28 and unmarried, he was a builder’s clerk.


Private, Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)

Arthur subsequently married Ethel Lizzie Ashby (nee Gisbon) in Essex in 1915.

Arthur enlisted at Downham Market and served for a time as Private 5/4/186240 in the Royal Army Service Corps. He was killed in action on 20th May 1918 while serving as Private 148832 in the Machine Gun Corps. He was aged 34. Today Arthur lies in grave: LXVII. D. 14 at Etaples Military Cemetery in Pas de Calais, France.

Arthur is not commemorated by the Civic Centre Memorial in Chelmsford, though he is remembered by the Downham Market war memorial.

The 1918 register of electors listed an absent Arthur and his wife at 6 Park Road in Chelmsford. She was still there in 1920 according to a street directory. Five years later she married George F. Leggett.