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.
Leader, 19 November 1920, p.1.