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Great War Graves in Ash Cemetery


William James Henry Benwell

Corporal S/24155 Army Service Corps
Died 23 January 1917 aged 26
Buried in Ash Cemetery (E771)

The inscription on his gravestone reads “Serj William J H Benwell ASC, son of Captain F E A Benwell RASC, died January 23 1917 aged 26 years. Deeply mourned by his sorrowing wife and parents. Resting in the Lord.”

The 1891 census records Private Frederick Benwell, Army Service Corps, and his wife Elizabeth and two sons living in barracks at Chatham. William James Henry Benwell was 2 months old and was born at Chatham Kent. The 1901 census records Mrs Benwell living in the barracks at Aldershot with her five sons. The 1911 census records that Frederick was now an Army pensioner, and that the family now lived at 29 St Michael’s Road Aldershot.

William’s medals card records that he was discharged due to sickness 17 May 1916. The Army Register of Soldiers’ Effects records that William’s wife was called Emma.

Alfred Rance Bull

Died 2 August 1918 aged 53
Remembered on Ash War Memorial
Buried in Ash Cemetery (E756)
Remembered on the Memorial to the Men of Ash Vale in St Mary’s Church

The Burials Register records that Alfred Bull had been a secretary, and had died at Aldershot 2 August 1918 aged 53. Ash Museum has a certificate of death showing his full name was Alfred Rance Bull.

He was buried next to Amelia Fuller Bull (E737) who had died in 1914 aged 60, the wife of Edward Bull, Chairman of Ash Parish Council 1915-17. Clara Elizabeth Bull (widow) died in Brighton aged 94 in 1928, and was buried with them.

Edward and Alfred were brothers, and Clara was their mother. Both sons were born in Cambridge, in 1865 and 1867. In 1881 Alfred was employed as a railway clerk. The censuses record that in 1901 Alfred was a valet and Edward was a chef, for an employer in Suffolk; and in 1911 Edward and his wife lived at Beaconsfield House in Ash Vale, whilst Alfred was an unemployed railway clerk and lived in Cambridge.

Frank Wilfred Cooke

Private 9281 6th Battalion, King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment
Died of wounds 5 October 1917 aged 30
Remembered on Ash War Memorial
Buried in Ash Cemetery (E753)
Remembered on the Memorial to the Men of Ash Vale in St Mary’s Church

The 1901 census records that Frank Cooke, 15, was born in Aldershot and living in Frimley and was working as an errand boy.

Frank Cooke’s medals card reveals that he was in the BEF and disembarked on 23 August 1914, and that he was awarded the 1914 Star and clasp.

Frank Cooke was wounded in Mesopotamia. The Surrey and Hants News 11 October 1917 reported that he had died of wounds at Manchester Military Hospital. He was the son of Frank Cooke, the late manager of the North Camp Gas Works, and Mrs Cooke of 5 Sydney Villas (in Frimley Road, Ash Vale). He had been married just one year earlier at St Mary’s Church.

His funeral was of a semi-military character and was reported in the Surrey and Hants News of 18 October. The coffin was borne to the cemetery on a gun carriage, draped in a Union Jack, and comrades in arms carried him to the graveside. Private Cooke had served in India, where he had been known as the finest bugler in England. Soldiers died records that he was a drummer.

William James Deedman

Private 4312 The Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment
Died 22 April 1919 aged 36
Buried in Ash Cemetery (F52)
Remembered on Normandy War Memorial

William Deedman was born in Wonersh in about April 1883, the son of William and Mary.

The censuses record that in 1891 William’s father was a carpenter and the family lived at Wonersh, and in 1901 William was a gardener at Henley Park. The 1911 census records that William was a labourer, and lived with his mother at Woodlands in Normandy.

The Aldershot News 9 May 1919 records that William, who was a reservist, rejoined the Royal Engineers at the outbreak of war but was discharged as medically unfit in September. He re-enlisted at Guildford in January 1915, and was 5 feet 8 inches tall and had a scar on his left wrist.

William’s medals card records that he went to France 25 May 1915, and that he was awarded the 1914/15 Star. Also that William had also been Labour Corps 162721. The newspaper reported that William was badly wounded at Loos.

William died of pneumonia at North Evington War Hospital in Leicestershire. He gave his address as 2 Elm Cottages, and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission records that his mother, Mrs Mary Deedman, lived at Elm Cottages, Guildford Road, Ash.

The funeral, with full military honours, took place on Saturday 26 April and Rev Lambrick officiated. The coffin was covered with the Union Jack and borne on a gun carriage, and volleys were fired over his grave. A beautiful cross was placed on the coffin from his mother, brothers and sisters.

Thomas Gray Dickinson

Lance Corporal 64465 Royal Engineers (150th Field Coy.)
Died 10 February 1920 aged 28
Remembered on Ash War Memorial
Buried in Ash Cemetery (F32)
Remembered on the Memorial to the Men of Ash Vale in St Mary’s Church

Thomas Dickinson was born in 1890 in Jarrow, the son of Andrew Dickinson, who worked in the dockyard, and his wife Susan. The 1911 census records that he was a fitter and turner and was living in Lewisham.

He enlisted 10 March 1915 in the Royal Irish Rifles. He was aged 23, and gave his address as 312 High Street Plumstead. He was 5 feet 5 3/8 inches tall and weighed 132 lbs, and he was a skilled fitter.

He arrived in France on 6 October 1915, and was awarded the 1914/15 Star.

In January 1916 he was described as a “fitter, very good”, and was transferred to the Royal Engineers and sent to the Royal Aircraft Factory at Farnborough for munitions work. He was married later that year. A form proposing that he be transferred to a reserve section in substitution for a man fit for general service dated 27 November 1917, records that his last employer before enlistment had been Lausinia Contracting Coy., New Orleans, USA. On 18 December 1917 he was discharged as no longer physically fit for War service, with a weekly pension of 27/6d. He was suffering from pulmonary tuberculosis.

Thomas Dickinson, soldier (demob), of 1 Nellers Cottages, Frimley Road, was buried at Ash on 14 February 1920. His wife Elsie received a War pension from 11 February 1920. She was given 26s 8d for herself, and 10s extra for their daughter.

Albert George Hankins

Private 39491 5th Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment
Died of wounds 26 April 1918 aged 23
Remembered on Ash War Memorial
Buried in Ash Cemetery (B25), where his headstone is inscribed “Not lost but gone before.”

Albert Hankins was the son of Charles and Eliza Ann Hankins of 4 Homeleigh Villas, Star Lane.

Albert was born in 1895 in Tongham, and the 1911 census records that he was a blacksmith’s striker. Soldiers Died records that he enlisted at Guildford.

The Surrey and Hants News reported that he was Mr and Mrs Hankins’ youngest son, and that he had formerly been a trainee chef. Two other sons were serving, and a son in law had also been killed. Albert Hankins had been wounded in both legs in France. Eventually his right leg had to be amputated at the hip, and he died one hour later, in the Military Hospital Langworthy Road, Manchester. His funeral was in the Wesleyan Chapel in Ash Street.

William Hannan

Staff Serjeant S2 SR/03450 Royal Army Service Corps
Died 16 November 1919 aged 49
Remembered on Ash War Memorial
Buried in Ash Cemetery (F36)

William Hannan was born in Dublin.

He was buried 20 November 1919, and Reverend Lambrick officiated. The notice placed in the Aldershot News 21 November 1919 said that he had died at Shaw Villas in Ash, and that he had eight children.

William and his wife Emily lived at 1 Shaw Villas Hillside Road in 1918-19. Emily died in 1935.

George Henry Townsend

Sgt 2nd Battalion, East Surrey Regiment
Died 4 March 1915 aged 31
Remembered on Ash War Memorial
Buried in Ash Cemetery (E913)

George Townsend was baptised at St Peter’s Church in Ash on 13 April 1884, the son of George and Margaret Townsend of the Cannon pub in Ash Street.

The 1901 census records that George was a plumber’s apprentice and was living in Reading. The 1911 census records that he was a Serjeant in the 2nd East Surrey Regiment, and that they were in Burma and the Andaman Islands.

He re-enlisted at Kingston upon Thames 29 August 1914 aged 30. In the recruitment register he was described as a labourer with a fresh complexion, brown hair and eyes and a scar on his leg. He was 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighed 133lbs and his chest measurement was 36 inches. (SHC 2496/40 page 78)

George died at Aldershot, and his funeral was on 9 March at St Peter’s Church, Reverend Walsh officiating. His mother died in 1935 and was buried in the same grave in Ash Cemetery.

Frederick Cottrell

Florence Embleton

Albert Harry Hawes

Charles Hiscock

Ash Great War Roll of Honour

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