Honour achieved for fallen captain who lived in Bromham

This Is Wiltshire: Richard Broadhead at Westbrook House in Bromham where Cpt Ashley died 		             (PM1093) Picture by Paul Morris Richard Broadhead at Westbrook House in Bromham where Cpt Ashley died (PM1093) Picture by Paul Morris

An officer from Bromham who died of his wounds years after the First World War has been commemorated after a two-and-a-half year struggle by local historian Richard Broadhead.

Captain Anthony Henry Evelyn Ashley, who lived at Westbrook House, Bromham, was the second son of the Rt Hon Evelyn Ashley MP and Lady Alice Ashley of Broadlands, Hampshire.

He volunteered for service and arrived in France on January 22, 1915, just before his 21st birthday, joining the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards.

He was later transferred to the 2nd Battalion Coldstream Guards and, while serving in trenches east of Ypres, Belgium, was wounded by a German shell on May 6, 1916.

He was paralysed from the waist down and doctors discovered his spinal cord had been severed by shell splinters.

Mr Broadhead said: “Captain Ashley never regained the use of the lower part of his body. However, he did find love and on March 6, 1920, he married Albinia Mary Evans-Lombe, daughter of Major Edward Henry Evans-Lombe and Albinia Harriet Leslie-Melville.

“Captain Ashley and his wife lived at Westbrook House, Bromham, where he spent much time in the garden.”

Complications set in and he died at Westbrook House on January 14, 1921. His body was taken to his family seat at Broadlands, near Romsey in Hampshire, and he received a military funeral with full honours.

The story would have ended here if it hadn’t been for Mr Broadhead, a Wiltshire-based Great War author and historian. While researching his book, Devizes District Soldiers, in 2009, he came across the story of Captain Ashley.

He said: “I knew as soon as I came across Captain Ashley’s story that he should have been recognised and commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

“I am pleased to confirm that the Commonwealth War Graves Commission have agreed he will be placed on the National Roll of Honour.”

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