ASHWELL, Sidney Herbert
(Service number 21762)
|First Rank||Rifleman||Last Rank||Sergeant|
|Date||Unknown||Place of Birth|
|Address at Enlistment|
|Previous Military Experience|
|Next of Kin||Mrs C. Ashwell (mother), Temuka|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Served with||NZ Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||NZ Rifle Brigade|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||7th Reinforcements 3rd Battalion, G Company|
|Date||21 August 1916|
|Embarked From||Wellington||Destination||Plymouth, England|
|Other Units Served With|
|Last Unit Served With||NZ Machine Gun Corps|
Award Circumstances and Date
Prisoner of War Information
|Date of Capture|
|Where Captured and by Whom|
|Actions Prior to Capture|
|PoW Serial Number|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
|Date||2 September 1918||Age||28|
|Place of Death||France|
|Cause||Died of wounds|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Begneux British Cemetery, Gezaincourt, Somme, France|
|Memorial Reference||V F 2|
|New Zealand Memorials||On Memorial wall, Timaru; Milford War Memorial; Temuka RSA Roll of Honour; Temuka War Memorial; Timaru Boys High School War Memorial (Library)|
Sidney Ashwell was the son of Joseph and Cordelia Ashwell (nee Green) of Temuka.
Before serving in the World War One, Sidney was working as a stock agent. Leaving with the 7th Reinforcements in August 1916, he soon found himself in Sling Camp in England for more training before heading to the front. Trained to serve with the Machine Gun Battalion, Sidney headed to France in February 1917. Later that year he was promoted to Lance Corporal in October 1917, then Corporal in January 1918. Soon after, he took leave in the United Kingdom in February 1918.
While on leave in the United Kingdom it seems Sidney visited relatives still living there including his first cousin, Irene Beckett who was probably living in the area of Lewsiham in London. Her son recounts that he made a great impression Irene and she remembered him all her life even though she was only approaching seven years of age. It was only sometime later that Irene overheard a conversation between adults and learnt that he was killed later that year, only weeks before the Armistice was declared. Irene’s son also recalled that her mother wrote to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to find out where Sidney was buried. She arranged flowers to be placed on his grave and wanted to visit his grave and pay her respects.
After his leave Sidney had returned to his unit, and to front-line service, in late February. In August Sidney was again promoted, this time to Sergeant. Unfortunately only a little after a week later Sidney was wounded in action. Evacuated to a casualty clearing station with a gunshot wound to his lower extremities, Sidney died the following day. A little over a month later the war was over.
Two of Sidney’s brothers Leslie and Roland also served in World War One.
Temuka through the years: an informal history (Temuka History Book Committee, 2009); Cenotaph Sep 2013; SCroll web submission by S Sinclair 4 January 2019
- Letters of Sidney H Ashwell, 1916 (pdf, 6.2 MB updated 02-Jun-2023)
- Letters of Sidney H Ashwell, 1917 (pdf, 15.0 MB updated 02-Jun-2023)
- Letters of Sidney H Ashwell, 1918 (pdf, 6.3 MB updated 02-Jun-2023)
- Letters of Sidney H Ashwell, 1919 - or undated (pdf, 310.8 KB updated 02-Jun-2023)
Researched and Written by
Carol Bell, SC branch NZSG & Timaru Herald; Tony Rippin, South Canterbury Museum
Currently Assigned to
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License unless otherwise stated.
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