Edgar ASHWORTH
Rank: 2nd Lieutenant
Number:
Unit: 1/6th Battalion CHESHIRE REGIMENT
Date of Death: 22 September 1917
Age: 20
Cemetery: Hooge Crater Cemetery, Ieper, Belgium

Edgar was born in Bredbury, the only son of James and Ellen Ashworth, 3 George Lane. He had attended St Mark’s Church and Sunday School and worked as a clerk for the London & North Western Railway Ltd at Manchester (probably at what is now Piccadilly Station).He enlisted into the army as a private in October 1915. He was recommended for a commission and started training on 4 November 1916. His on-line medal entitlement records at the National Archives makes no reference to his service in the ranks, suggesting that he did not serve overseas at that time. He was commissioned in March 1917, into the 1/4th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment and went to France on 19 April. He was later attached to the 6th Battalion, probably as a replacement for the losses on 31 July (the first day of the Third Battle of Ypres).After a period away from the front line to reorganise, the Battalion moved to positions at a wood known to the Tommies as Shrewsbury Forest on 19 September 1917. This is about 6 kilometres south east of the town centre of Ypres (now Ieper). They were to be in reserve to 117th Brigade and they were in position by 2am on the 20th.The main attack was eastwards towards “Tower Hamlets” with the objective of capturing the village of Geluveld. Across the attack frontage, the advance was generally successful, but in the Tower Hamlets sector, enemy fire caused many casualties, which stalled the advance. By 7.40am, one of the company’s of Cheshires was ordered forward to support the 17th Battalion, King’s Royal Rifle Corps. Shortly afterwards, a second company went forward to reinforce the left flank of the attack. Progress was made, but the objectives were not secured.Later in the day, a third company was sent forward to take part in an attack by 41st Division. They advanced at 6.30pm, under heavy machine gun, taking their objective by 7.10pm. The failure of the Battalion on the left to advance sufficiently meant the Cheshires had to withdraw the next morning. On the night of the 22nd, the Battalion moved further back to reserve trenches near Larch Wood. Edgar’s date of death is given as 22 September but, the following letter suggest he was injured on the 21st, during the attack.A Captain Harding later wrote to Edgar’s parents expressing his sympathy. He was unable to give much information as to what had happened to Edgar as they had become separated at the beginning of the action. However, he thought that he had originally only been wounded in the attack and was being taken to the rear when he was killed by an artillery shell. Certainly, Edgar never reached the Battalion’s first aid post just behind the front line.

He was originally buried near to where he died at “Tower Hamlets”. After the Armistice in 1918, many of the very small front-line burial areas were closed as the land was retuned to civilian use. Edgar’s body would have been moved the three kilometres down the Menen Road (the N8 running south east of Ieper) to its final resting place.

   
           
   
     
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