Thomas John Ashford was born in 1880 to Thomas and Susan Ashford in Ashcott, Somerset and his baptism was recorded in the Baptism Register of Ashcott Parish Church on 3rdOctober 1880. His father’s occupation was given as ‘labourer’.

Thomas was the sixth child of Thomas and Susan, his siblings being

                        Anna        born 1870

                        Laura       born 1872

                        William    born 1875

                        Frederick born 1877

                        Harry       born 1879

and all were born in Ashcott. Two more children were baptised in Ashcott after Thomas John’s birth, Frank George in 1886, and Ada Ellen in 1889. There may have been other children born in the period 1880 to 1886 but they have not been found in the records.

Thomas John was a ‘scholar’ in the 1891 census, aged 10 and the family was living in Ashcott. As a scholar Thomas would have probably attended Ashcott School but the admission Log Books for the School do not record admissions before 1889. By the time of the 1901 census the family was living on Ashcott Heath but only William and Ada were still at home. William was in the army and ‘On Furlough Pt S J J’. Thomas has not been traced in the 1901 census.

Thomas married Elizabeth Ann Mills in Street on 18 May 1914. Thomas was 33 years old, a shoemaker of Street, and his father was Thomas Ashford. Elizabeth was 30 years old, living in Street and her father was John Mills.

Thomas enlisted in the 8thBattalion, Somerset Light Infantry (Service No. 26344).

On the 23 April 1917 the Battalion was involved in the Second Battle of the Scarpe at Arras and incurred heavy losses. The Central Gazette of 1 June 1917 reported Thomas missing and his death was confirmed in the 24 August issue. Thomas had died on the 23 April 1917 at the age of 36.

At the time of his death the family home was 48, Cranhill Rd, Street, Somerset.


Thomas died during the ‘Arras Offensive’ of April-May 1917 and is one of almost 35,000 servicemen who died between 1916 and 1918 in the Arras sector of the Front and have no known grave.  He is remembered on Panel 4 of the Arras Memorial in the Faubourg-d’Amiens Cemetery, France.

As an employee of Clarks in Street he is also remembered on the memorial plaque honouring World War 1 casualties which is located next to the entrance of Clarks’ Head Office in Street.


Thomas was awarded the Victory Medal and the British War Medal.


Attachments – Commonwealth War Graves  Commission Certificate

                        Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery Details

                        Clarks’ memorial plaque, Street, Somerset    


References –    BMD Marriages.

                         Thomas J Ashford June Quarter 1914, Wells District 5c 994

                   –    World War 1 Medal Card


Acknowledgements – Derek Ashford of Street for Ashford family information.


Cemetery Details







Pas de Calais



Location Information:

The Arras Memorial is in the Faubourg-d'Amiens Cemetery, which is in the Boulevard du General de Gaulle in the western part of the town of Arras. The cemetery is near the Citadel, approximately 2 kms due west of the railway station.

Historical Information:

The French handed over Arras to Commonwealth forces in the spring of 1916 and the system of tunnels upon which the town is built were used and developed in preparation for the major offensive planned for April 1917. The Commonwealth section of the FAUBOURG D'AMIENS CEMETERY was begun in March 1916, behind the French military cemetery established earlier. It continued to be used by field ambulances and fighting units until November 1918. The cemetery was enlarged after the Armistice when graves were brought in from the battlefields and from two smaller cemeteries in the vicinity. The cemetery contains 2,651 Commonwealth burials of the First World War. In addition, there are 30 war graves of other nationalities, most of them German. During the Second World War, Arras was occupied by United Kingdom forces headquarters until the town was evacuated on 23 May 1940. Arras then remained in German hands until retaken by Commonwealth and Free French forces on 1 September 1944. The cemetery contains seven Commonwealth burials of the Second World War. The graves in the French military cemetery were removed after the First World War to other burial grounds and the land they had occupied was used for the construction of the Arras Memorial and Arras Flying Services Memorial. The ARRAS MEMORIAL commemorates almost 35,000 servicemen from the United Kingdom, South Africa and New Zealand who died in the Arras sector between the spring of 1916 and 7 August 1918, the eve of the Advance to Victory, and have no known grave. The most conspicuous events of this period were the Arras offensive of April-May 1917, and the German attack in the spring of 1918. Canadian and Australian servicemen killed in these operations are commemorated by memorials at Vimy and Villers-Bretonneux. A separate memorial remembers those killed in the Battle of Cambrai in 1917. The ARRAS FLYING SERVICES MEMORIAL commemorates nearly 1,000 airmen of the Royal Naval Air Service, the Royal Flying Corps, and the Royal Air Force, either by attachment from other arms of the forces of the Commonwealth or by original enlistment, who were killed on the whole Western Front and who have no known grave. Both cemetery and memorial were designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, with sculpture by Sir William Reid Dick. The memorial was unveiled by Lord Trenchard, Marshal of the Royal Air Force on the 31 July 1932.

No. of Identified Casualties:



In Memory of

26344, 8th Bn., Somerset Light Infantry
who died aged 36
on 23 April 1917

Husband of Elizabeth Ann Ashford, of 48, Cranhill Rd, Street, Somerset.

Remembered with honour


Casualty Details

Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Private
Regiment/Service: Somerset Light Infantry
Unit Text: 8th Bn.
Age: 36
Date of Death: 23/04/1917
Service No: 26344
Additional information: Husband of Elizabeth Ann Ashford, of 48, Cranhill Rd., Street, Somerset.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: Bay 4.