Intended to train men whose circumstances do not permit of them serving in the fighting line, but who are fit, if necessary, to reinforce those units whose ranks are depleted by their members going to the front.
Our best and bravest are serving with the colours.
DEEDS. NOT WORDS.
Don’t worry, old girl – let the lad go. I’ll scout around until he comes back.
HMAS Australia, Firth of Forth, Scotland, February 1915. Image courtesy Australian War Memorial.
HMAS Australia joins the Grand Fleet as flagship of the 2nd battlecruiser squadron of the Grand Fleet
Just four weeks after conducting the first-ever air raid in Britain, the Imperial German Navy Zeppelins L-3 and L-4 are forced down by severe weather off north-west Denmark while searching for Allied merchant vessels. The crew of L-3 burn the zeppelin before being captured and interned; L-4 ditches into the North Sea and disappears with four men still on board. The remaining 11 crew members are plucked from the sea and interned by Danish authorities.
They even lined up with the band, And all was very bright and gay. As each was shaken by the hand, And ‘midst the cheers they steamed away. A tear in Rockie’s eye did shine, Aye, when the band played ‘”Auld Lang Syne.”
Two-bonnie boys are Bern and Bert; They’re going to where the rifles crack, And where the Maxim guns do spurt, And in the charges, bayenets flash; The game is tough, but all the same We’ll bet these boys will play the game.
34 planes from the British Naval Wing attack German-occupied coastal towns in Belgium. The surprise raid destroys the German submarine base at Zeebrugge and the railway station at Ostend. Despite heavy retaliation from German anti-aircraft guns there are no Allied losses.
George Leslie Ash was born in Parkes in 1891, the third child and eldest son of George Ash and Alice Stibbard. Following her husband’s death in 1900, Alice returned to the family home in Lucknow, where her father was licensee of the Commercial Hotel. George attended school in Lucknow and developed a keen interest in football. Following his education he worked at St Aignan’s Mine.
George, known as ‘Dick’, and his younger brother Claude enlisted together in February 1915. Dick embarked from Brisbane in early June, a driver for the 15th Company of the Army Service Corps. Dick served for just over four years, in Egypt, France and England. He returned to Australia in July 1919.
In November 1920 Dick married Lila Rodwell at St John’s Church in Lucknow. The couple settled at Pine Farm at Shadforth. At the time Dick had a contract for wood carting, he also worked as a farmer and orchardist. Dick and Lila had 9 children.
Football was Dick’s favourite sport; he played for both Shadforth and Lucknow, and was secretary of the Lucknow Football Club in 1920. In 1922-3 Shadforth won the premiership and celebrated the occasion at Shadforth Hall with a six-course banquet.
A loyal member of the RSL, Dick died suddenly in March 1970. His obituary in the Leader described Dick as one of the most respected citizens of the district, and his funeral as one of the largest seen in Orange for some time.
George Leslie (Dick) Ash is commemorated on St Joseph’s Church Orange Honour Roll.
Dick’s brother Claude survived the war, but died in 1922 of complications arising from injuries sustained during the war. A younger brother – Arthur – also served in WWI; he was killed in action at Bullecourt in France in 1917.
Claude John Ash. Image courtesy Orange City Library.
Claude John Ash was born in Parkes in 1893, the fifth child and third son of George Ash and Alice Stibbard. Following her husband’s death in 1900, Alice returned to the family home in Lucknow, where her father was licensee of the Commercial Hotel. Claude attended school in Lucknow and, like his brothers, was a keen footballer.
Claude and his older brother Dick enlisted together in February 1915. Claude embarked from Sydney in May, a driver in the 15th Company of the Army Service Corps. He served in Egypt, France and England. Early in his service – in December 1915 – Driver Ash was promoted to Lance Corporal.
According to the Leader Claude experienced two narrow escapes from death; once on Menin Road when a shell exploded in front of him, hitting and killing the two horses he was driving; on the second occasion a wagon he was leading was blown up.
Lance Corporal Ash was hospitalised several times during the war: in December 1915 with mumps, in March 1916 with a hydatid cyst and again in March 1919, just prior to his return to Australia, with influenza.
Claude returned to Australia in May 1919 and was discharged from the AIF that July. He had served for a total of four years and one hundred and sixty six days, four years and ten days of which were abroad. In 1920 Claude married Blanche Rodwell; the couple had one son, Arthur Norman ‘Jack’.
Ill-health troubled Claude, the result of injuries sustained during his war service. He died in Lucknow on 16 August 1922, aged 28. He is buried in Orange Cemetery.
Claude is commemorated on St Joseph’s Church Orange Honour Roll.
Claude’s brother Dick survived the war; he returned to Australia in 1919 and settled in Shadforth. A younger brother – Arthur – also served in WWI; he was killed in action at Bullecourt in France in 1917.
Claude John Ash’s headstone, Orange Cemetery. Image courtesy Orange Family History Group.