ASHTON, Ernest

Service Numbers: 2779, V8036
Enlisted: 5 July 1915
Last Rank: Sergeant
Last Unit: 5th Machine Gun Battalion
Born: Yorkshire, England, 1 November 1893
Home Town: Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Farm labourer
Died: Illness, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 24 March 1943, aged 49 years
Cemetery: Springvale War Cemetery, Melbourne, Victoria
Springvale War Cemetery, Springvale, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

5 Jul 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 2779, 7th Infantry Battalion
24 Feb 1916: Transferred AIF WW1, Private, 59th Infantry Battalion
18 Mar 1916: Transferred AIF WW1, Private, 15th Machine Gun Company
20 Sep 1917: Promoted AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, 15th Machine Gun Company
4 Jan 1918: Promoted AIF WW1, Sergeant, 15th Machine Gun Company
27 Nov 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Sergeant, 2779, 15th Machine Gun Company, Polygon Wood, Croix de Guerre (Belgium) Commonwealth Gazette' No. 185 bravely manned gun at Polygon Wood under heavy fire, 26/27 September 1917
16 Aug 1919: Discharged AIF WW1, Sergeant, 2779, 5th Machine Gun Battalion, 3rd MD

World War 2 Service

3 Sep 1939: Involvement Sergeant, V8036
5 Jul 1940: Enlisted Australian Military Forces (WW2) , Sergeant, V8036

Help us honour Ernest Ashton's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Evan Evans

From How We Served
The final resting place for; - 2779 & V8036 Sergeant Ernest Ashton CdeG (B) had immigrated to Australia from Yorkshire, England, prior to the outbreak of World War One, and was employed as a farm laborer when he enlisted for War Service on the 5th of July 1915.

Ernest was allocated to reinforcements for the 7th Battalion 1st AIF and was embarked for Egypt and further training on the 10th of September. Following his arrival from Australia, Ernest was sent to Gallipoli where he joined his Battalion in the trenches on the 7th of December during the last phase of the Dardanelles campaign.

Following the evacuation of Gallipoli, Ernest was returned to Egypt where he arrived on the 7th of January 1916 and by the 24th of February he had been transferred to the newly formed 59th Battalion. Ernest was again transferred on the 4th of March and was taken on strength with the 15th Machine Gun Company, with which he was shipped to France with, and was disembarked on the 24th of June.

Aside a short respite of leave, and time spent with training schools, Ernest’s service in the field would be continuous. By August 1917, Ernest, now serving as a Corporal would be cited for his diligence to duty whilst in charge of a machine gun crew at Polygon Wood during heavy fighting between the 26th and 27th of August.

Over the course of this battle, whilst under heavy shellfire, Ernest’s crew was responsible for causing heavy damage to the enemy who were amassing to counter attack Australian positions.

For his coolness and leadership Ernest was recommended for the Military Medal for bravery in the field, but instead would receive the Belgium Croix de Guerre.

Ernest’s service in the trenches of France and Flanders would continue until he was evacuated due to sickness to the 3rd Australian General Hospital at Abbeville on the 28th of November 1918 suffering from influenza.
Following his recovery Ernest re-joined his Unit and was availed a short respite of leave to England, and was returned to his Unit by the 19th of January. With the War now over, Ernest, who had been promoted to Sergeant began his repatriation back to Australia, arriving back in England from France on the 15th of February, before embarking for Australia on the 13th of April.

Having arrived back from England, Ernest received his official discharge from the 1st AIF for his re-entry into civilian life on the 16th of August 1919.

With the outbreak of a Second World War, Ernest now residing in Armadale, Victoria, again presented himself for service with the Australian Military Forces on the 5th of July 1940, and was accepted for full-time service within Australia.

Whilst serving with the 4th Field Training Regiment Royal Australian Artillery, Ernest was evacuated due to sickness, and whilst still under treatment in hospital, he succumbed to illness on the 24th of March 1943, at the premature age of 49.

Following his passing, Sergeant Ernest Ashton CdeG (B), a decorated veteran of the ‘Great War’, who had died whilst serving Australia during a second world conflict, was formally laid to rest within Springvale War Cemetery, Victoria.