Arthur Ashwood appeared to have no connection with Rugby, until we discovered his elder brother, Herbert living in the town.
Arthur was born in Tamworth Staffordshire in late 1890, he was aged 5 months in the 1890 census. His parents were Edwin Godderidge and Eliza (nee Whitehouse) Ashwood. Edwin and Eliza had been married in 1877 in the Aston RD and Arthur was their sixth child and second son.
The family have not been found in the 1881 census, although judging by the place of birth of their children, they lived throughout in Tamworth. In 1891 Edwin was a Licensed Victualler in the Prince of Wales Pub in Gungate Street, Tamworth.
By 1901 Edwin, at the age of 46 was a retired hotel keeper and living with his family at Woodland House in Hopwas, Tamworth. Arthur was aged 10, and his elder brother Herbert, 19, was an architect’s pupil.
In 1911 Edwin was listed as a farmer at Woodland Grange. He was a widower. Eliza had died in 1903 at the age of 48. There were three daughters still living at home and Arthur, aged 20, who was working on the farm.
In 1915 Arthur Ashwood married Rosamond Joan Nevill and on 24th July that year a daughter, Winifred J was born, followed by a son Lawson A on 5th May 1918.
It was probably about the time of his son’s birth that Arthur joined the 2nd Battalion, South Staffordshire Regiment as private, no. 58415. We have been unable to find a service record or entry in the medal roll for Arthur, it is unclear whether he reached the front line.
November 1918 had started quiet for the South Staffordshires with the cleaning of billets and working on roads. The armistice was reported on the 11th November followed by arrangements for the march to Germany. They crossed the French-Belgian border on the 20th enjoying good weather and “a fine reception from the civilian population”. The consolidated returns for the month list:
Other Ranks – 3 killed, 6 wounded, nil missing, 67 to hospital, 1 from hospital.
It is not known if Arthur Ashwood was one of the 67 or arrived at Rouen Hospital from elsewhere. He returned to England and died at Whittington hospital on 17th May 1919.
DEATH OF PRIVATE A ASHWOOD. – The death occurred at the Military Hospital, Whittington, on Saturday, of 58415 Private Arthur Ashwood, 2nd South Staff. Regt., younger son of Mr E G Ashwood, Woodland Grange, Hopwas. He was 28 years of age, and had served in the Army for about twelve months. The cause of death was meningitis, resulting from septic poisoning contracted in France. He was admitted to Rouen hospital on November 28, 1918, and was confined to hospital until his death. He leaves a widow and two children. The body was brought from Whittington on Tuesday evening, and remained in Hopwas Church overnight. The funeral took place on Wednesday with military honours. The first portion of the service was held in Hopwas Church, the Rev. Evan Williams, priest-in-charge, officiating. Subsequently the coffin, draped in a Union Jack, was conveyed on a Red Cross ambulance to Tamworth cemetery for interment. The procession was preceded by a firing party of men from the South Staffs. Regt., carrying rifles reversed, and a bugler, while six men from the same regiment acted as bearers. Reaching Tamworth, a deputation of local market gardeners and a representative from Birmingham market joined the procession. The Rev. Evan Williams concluded the service at the cemetery, and at the close the customary three volleys were fired over the grave, and the “Last Post” was sounded. There were a large number of beautiful wreaths.
(The Herald, 24th May 1919)
An inscription was added to his gravestone by his father, Mr E G Ashwood of Deercroft, Hopwas, Tamworth:
I ONLY YIELD THEE / WHAT IS THINE / THY WILL BE DONE
Rosamond did not remarry, dying in 1981 at the age of nearly 90. She and her children can be found in Green Lane, Sutton Coldfield in 1939. Winifred was a shorthand typist and Lawson a bricklayer.
In 1939 Herbert Ashwood an architect, living at Newbold Cottage in Newbold on Avon. In 1911 he had been living in Bognar in Sussex, but must have moved to Rugby by 1921, in time to add his brother to the list of men on the Rugby Memorial Gates.
Arthur Ashwood is also remembered on the Tamworth War Memorial.
RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM