19th (County of London) Battalion (St. Pancras)
Place of birth:
St Pancras, Middlesex
Date of death:
Cause of death:
Killed in action
Grave or panel reference:
Panel 130 to 135.
Name of father:
Name of siblings:
Rose A, Dorothy, Florence (later known as Emily), Hannah, Simon, George, Edward, Sidney
Name(s) of children:
Date of birth:
Place of enlistment:
Camden Town - Middlesex
France and Belgium
Age at death:
Cemetery or memorial:
Loos Memorial, France
Name of mother:
Susannah Mary Ashman (nee Everleigh)
Name of spouse:
13 Hatley Road, Finsbury Park
James George Ashman was born in Islington on 6 September 1893 and baptised one month later at St Thomas the Apostle Church, Finsbury Park. He was the eldest son of Simon and Susannah Ashman (née Everleigh), but also the middle child of their nine, preceded by sisters Rose, Dorothy, Florence (later known as Emily) and Hannah, and followed by brothers Simon, George, Edward and Sidney.
By the time of the 1911 Census, the Ashmans were living at 13 Hatley Road, Finsbury Park, in five rooms of the three-storey house. James’s father Simon, who had been born in Swaffham Bulbeck, Cambridgeshire, had held down a variety of jobs, including stonemason’s labourer, stableman and horse keeper. Susannah had applied for fellowship of New Court Congregational Church in 1910, along with Henrietta Furner, a widow who lived in two rooms of No 13 with her infant son James.
James had been nearing his 18th birthday at the time of the 1911 Census, which lists his occupation as parcel carrier. That year he also volunteered for the Territorial Force, which had been formed three years earlier as an alternative to conscription to support the land forces of the British Army.
There are no recorded details of when or where James enlisted with the 1/19th (County of London) Battalion (St Pancras) of the London Regiment but here his path crossed with another of the fallen soldiers commemorated at St Mellitus, Private Cecil Ivors Ashcroft of the same battalion.
Like Cecil, James fought with the 19th Londons at the Battle of Loos in France in September 1915. Like Cecil, his date of death is recorded as 25 September, the first day of the battle, and like Cecil the date is given the ghostly postscript ‘on or such, death presumed’ in UK Army Register of Soldiers’ Effects.
Neighbours in north London, the two men also share a burial place: Dud Corner, part of the Loos Memorial where more than 20,000 soldiers who have no known grave are commemorated, so called because of the quantity of unexploded shells found there after the Armistice.
James’s brothers Simon and George also served in the First World War, and their names appear on the plaque for the returning soldiers at New Court, where their family remained members. James, who would have been awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal, shares one final link with Cecil Ashcroft. Both men are remembered at St Mellitus and on the 19th Londons’ First World War memorial in St Pancras New Church, Euston, that was originally in the regiment’s drill hall in Camden High Street.