2721511 Anthony ASHTON, DCM, 1 Irish Guards

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  1. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    The National Archives | DocumentsOnline | Image Details
    Name Ashton, Anthony
    Rank: Lance Serjeant
    Service No: 272154 [2721511]
    Regiment: 1 Battalion Irish Guards
    Theatre of Combat or Operation: North Africa (Algeria, Tunisia)
    Award: Distinguished Conduct Medal
    Date of Announcement in London Gazette: 08 July 1943
    Date 1943
    Catalogue reference WO 373/1

    LG - Viewing Page 3088 of Issue 36083

    272154 Lance Serjeant Anthony ASHTON, 1st Battalion IRISH GUARDS
    24th Guards Brigade, 1st British Division, 5 Corps

    Attack and Occupation of Pt 212 & 214 April 28th to May 1st.

    This Lance-Sergeant took part in the attack on Point 212 on 27 April 1943 and was a leading figure in the defence of Point 214 throughout the whole period till the Battalion was relieved 0300 [hours] 1 May [1943].

    As the senior Sergeant left in No. 3 Company he took over command when Lieutenant KENNARD was wounded on the morning of 30 April, and proved a worthy successor.

    But before this also he displayed the highest courage and devotion to duty and was an example of all that an excellent soldier should be.

    He was with Lieutenant KENNARD in the attack on the Machine guns and it was he who turned one gun on the retreating Germans, and then brought it back to our positions, having destroyed the other.

    After the Armoured Car, which had got up onto the ? [?Ring Contour] North of Point 214 had been halted, it was he who prevented the crew from dismounting their guns by his skilful and accurate Light Machine Gun fire, and having got them pinned, handed over the gun, crawled forward with a small ??, eliminated the crew, who had either gone to ground or were hiding inside the care.

    In this way, he removed a serious threat to the Battalion's position, and no other Armoured Cars attempted to come up that way again.

    During the attacks and counter-attacks, he was always to the forefront, and probably has the largest total individual score of Germans to his credit.

    I strongly recommend this NCO for his numerous acts of bravery and initiative, of which only two have been mentioned.

    DCM

    Signed CA Montagu-Douglas-Scott, Lieut.-Colonel, Officer Commanding, 1st Battalion Irish Guards

    Strongly recommended.
    Signed Major General, Commander, 1st Division

    :poppy:
    Lance-Sergeant ANTHONY ASHTON D.C.M., 2721511, 1st Bn., Irish Guards who died age 23 on 04 February 1944
    Son of Wilfred and Jane Ashton, of Burnley, Lancashire; husband of Gladys Ashton, of Burnley.
    Remembered with honour BEACH HEAD WAR CEMETERY, ANZIO
    Grave/Memorial Reference: XVII. F. 6.
    CWGC :: Casualty Details

    Personal inscription on headstone:
    “YOURS WAS THE COURAGE
    OURS MUST BE THE FORTITUDE
    UNTIL THE DAY DAWNS”

    Lance-Sergeant Ashton D.C.M., was born and lived in Burnley.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    PERSONAL INFORMATION
    Name: ASHTON, Anthony
    DOB: 1920, 1st Quarter
    Place of Birth: Burnley, Lancashire
    Residence: 12, Barbon Street, Burnley, Lancashire
    Trade: Decorator
    Parents: Wilfred and Jane Ashton, of Burnley, Lancashire.
    Census:
    Wife: Gladys Ashton nee Stuttard, of Burnley, Lancashire, married 1943 1st Quarter, Burnley.
    Photo: Anthony Ashton
    Screen Shot 2016-10-11 at 08.31.29.png

    SERVICE
    Army Number: 2721511
    Rank: Lance-Sergeant
    Regiment/Battalion: Irish Guards, 1st Battalion
    As at 01/09/1939:
    Enlisted: 1941
    Promotions:
    Aquittance Roll:
    WO 361/784 Date of Payment 14 Jan 1944, 500 Local Currency, 3 Coy. 1st Bn. Irish Guards Missing 4th February, 1944
    Soldier's Will:


    CASUALTY
    CWGC Link: Casualty Details
    CWGC Certificate:
    ASHTON_ANTHONY.jpg
    Theatre of War: Italy
    Date of Death: 04/02/1944
    Age at Death: 23
    Casualty Type: Missing believed Wounded, Died of Wounds

    Cemetery / Memorial: BEACH HEAD WAR CEMETERY, ANZIO
    Cemetery Plan:
    BEACH HEAD ANZIO PLAN.JPG
    Cemetery Photo:
    BEACH HEAD, ANZIO.jpg
    Grave Reference: XVII. F. 6.
    Headstone Photo:
    ASHTON A.jpg
    Grave Registration:
    ASHTON A 1 doc3718233.JPG ASHTON A 2 doc5756143.JPG
    Headstone:
    ASHTON A 3 doc3756930.JPG
    Inscription:
    "Yours was the courage
    Ours must be the fortitude
    Until the day dawns."


    Army Casualty List (WO 417):
    2721511 Lance-Serjeant ASHTON Anthony 1944 [1BN] Irish Guards
    2721511 Lance-Serjeant ASHTON Anthony 1945 [1BN] Irish Guards


    MEDALS
    Gallantry Award: Distinguished Conduct Medal
    The Times, 9th July, 1943 - D.C.M. L/Sgt. A. ASHTON, Irish Guards
    Theatre of Combat or Operation: North Africa (Algeria, Tunisia)
    The Times: published 9 Jul 1943, D.C.M. Lance-Sergeant Ashton A.
    London Gazette: 8th July, 1943 https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/36083/page/3088/data.pdf
    TNA Link: Recommendation for Award for Anthony, Ashton Rank: Lance Serjeant Service... | The National Archives

    Citation:
    "272154 Lance-Serjeant Anthony ASHTON, 1st Battalion IRISH GUARDS
    24th Guards Brigade, 1st British Division, 5 Corps

    Attack and Occupation of Pt 212 & 214 April 28th to May 1st.

    This Lance-Sergeant took part in the attack on Point 212 on 27 April 1943 and was a leading figure in the defence of Point 214 throughout the whole period till the Battalion was relieved 0300 [hours] 1 May [1943].

    As the senior Sergeant left in No. 3 Company he took over command when Lieutenant KENNARD was wounded on the morning of 30 April, and proved a worthy successor.

    But before this also he displayed the highest courage and devotion to duty and was an example of all that an excellent soldier should be.

    He was with Lieutenant KENNARD in the attack on the Machine guns and it was he who turned one gun on the retreating Germans, and then brought it back to our positions, having destroyed the other.

    After the Armoured Car, which had got up onto the ? [?Ring Contour] North of Point 214 had been halted, it was he who prevented the crew from dismounting their guns by his skilful and accurate Light Machine Gun fire, and having got them pinned, handed over the gun, crawled forward with a small ??, eliminated the crew, who had either gone to ground or were hiding inside the care.

    In this way, he removed a serious threat to the Battalion's position, and no other Armoured Cars attempted to come up that way again.

    During the attacks and counter-attacks, he was always to the forefront, and probably has the largest total individual score of Germans to his credit.

    I strongly recommend this NCO for his numerous acts of bravery and initiative, of which only two have been mentioned.

    DCM

    Signed CA Montagu-Douglas-Scott, Lieut.-Colonel, Officer Commanding, 1st Battalion Irish Guards

    Strongly recommended.
    Signed Major General, Commander, 1st Division"

    Recommendation:
    ASHTON A, 1.png ASHTON A, 2.png
    Campaign Medals:


    REFERENCES
    War Diaries: War Diary: 1st Battalion IRISH GUARDS, September 1939 - July 1944
    Archive Files: WO 417, WO 361/784, WO 373/1/458
    Publications: IG History, pgs 180, 183, 189, 230, 237, 241, 276
    Accounts:

    War Memorial: Can you photograph your local war memorial?
    View attachment 97793 View attachment 97794 View attachment 97795 View attachment 97796

    Newspaper: Anthony Ashton
    Burnley Express, 3rd February 1945:
    "ROLL OF HONOUR: D.C.M.s Fate
    Mrs. G. Ashton, of 12, Barbon Street, Burnley, has been informed that her husband, L/Sergt. Anthony Ashton, D.C.M., who was reported missing and believed wounded since February 4th, 1944, while serving with the Central Mediterranean Forces is now known to have succumbed to his wounds.
    He joined the Army in 1941, and went abroad two years later. He was awarded the D.C.M. in June, 1943.
    Before joining up he worked as a decorator for F. Schofield, St. Matthew Street. His parents reside at 159, Cleaver Street, Burnley."

    Websites:
    Irish Guards: Roll of Honour - WWII Open Resource Group
    Irish Guards: Gallantry Awards & Honours - WWII Open Resource Group
    Anthony Ashton
    L-Sgt Anthony Ashton ( - 1944) - Find A Grave Memorial
    BEACH HEAD WAR CEMETERY, ANZIO, italy
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2019
  3. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    The Times, 9th July, 1943
    Screen Shot 2016-10-12 at 13.51.33.png
     
  4. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Army Number: 2721511
    Rank: Lance Serjeant
    Name: A ASHTON
    Unit: 1 Irish Guards
    Theatre: Italy
    Missing Personnel file: 1st Battalion IRISH GUARDS - Italy, Missing Personnel file
    TNA Reference: WO 361/784
    Notes: Date of Payment 14 Jan 1944, 500 Local Currency 3 Coy. 1st Bn. Irish Guards Missing 4 Feb 1944

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    Last edited: Nov 5, 2019
  5. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member Patron

    I came across his medals from a past auction sale:

    Date of Auction: 12th December 2012

    Sold for £6,800

    Estimate: £5,000 - £6,000

    The Collection of Second World War and Modern Gallantry Awards formed by the late William Oakley


    An outstanding Second World War North Africa operations group of six awarded to Lance-Sergeant A. Ashton, Irish Guards: decorated for successive acts of gallantry during the desperate Bou action of April 1943, when he ‘probably had the largest total individual score of Germans to his credit’ and also his comrade Patrick Kenneally was awarded the V.C., he subsequently died of wounds in the Anzio beachhead in January 1944



    Distinguished Conduct Medal, G.VI.R. (2721511 L. Sjt. A. Ashton, I. Gds); 1939-45 Star; Africa Star; Italy Star; Defence and War Medals 1939-45, good very fine and better (6) £5000-6000

    Footnote

    D.C.M. London Gazette 8 July 1943. The original recommendation states:



    ‘This Lance-Sergeant took part in the attack on Point 212 on 27 April 1943 and was a leading figure in the defence of Point 214 throughout the whole period till the Battalion was relieved at 0300 on 1 May. As the senior Sergeant left in No. 3 Company he took over command when Lieutenant Kennard was wounded on the morning of 30 April, and proved a worthy successor. But before this he also displayed the highest courage and devotion to duty and was an example of all that an excellent soldier should be.



    He was with Lieutenant Kennard in the attack on the M./Gs and it was he who turned one gun on the retreating Germans and then brought it back to our positions, having destroyed the other. After the armoured car, which had got up on to the Ring Contour North of Point 214 had been halted, it was he who prevented the crew from dismantling their guns by his skilful and accurate L.M.G. fire, and having got them pinned down, handed over the gun, crawled forward and eliminated the crew, who had either gone to ground or were hiding inside the car. In this way he removed a serious threat to the Battalion’s position, and no other armoured cars attempted to come up that way again. During the attacks and counter-attacks he was always to the forefront, and I strongly recommend this N.C.O. for his numerous acts of bravery and initiative, of which only two have been mentioned.’



    Anthony Ashton was born in Burnley, Lancashire in February 1920 and enlisted in the Irish Guards at Caterham in July 1940. Embarked for the Middle East in February 1943, he fought in the Tunisian campaign with the 1st Army and was decorated for his part in the vital action at Bou Aoukaz on 27- 1 May 1943, when the “Micks” were ordered to capture and hold this mountain feature at all costs - otherwise General Alexander’s future plans in North Africa - and indeed plans for Sicily and Italy - would have been placed in jeopardy.


    On the afternoon of 27 April, with the Scots and Grenadier Guards in support, the 1st Battalion, Irish Guards, launched an assault on the Bou feature, where, just three days earlier Captain Lord Lyell had died winning the V.C. in a similar attack. Advancing over open ground and under German observation and a blazing sun, the “Micks” came under a hail of fire, one German prisoner later stating that they had not believed that anyone could cross the plain and survive. As it transpired, few did, but by the evening the survivors - numbering five officers and 173 other ranks - had secured nearby Points 212 and 214. Here, then, the scene of Ashton’s numerous acts of gallantry, when in ‘attacks and counter-attacks he was always to the forefront’ and, by the time the Battalion was relieved on 1 May, ‘probably had the largest total individual score of Germans to his credit’. The “Micks” fared little better - of the 178 men who had reached Points 212 and 214 on 27 April, only 80 were still standing by 1 May.


    Ashton was awarded an immediate D.C.M., while one of his comrades, Lance-Corporal Patrick Kenneally received the V.C. The citation for the latter award lends depth to the overall picture of this desperate battle and to the extraordinary example set by the likes of Ashton and Kenneally:


    ‘The Bou feature dominates all ground East and West between Medjez El Bab and Tebourba. It was essential to the final assault on Tunis that this feature should be captured and held.


    A Guards Brigade assaulted and captured a portion of the Bou on the 27th April, 1943. The Irish Guards held on to Points 212 and 214 on the Western end of the feature, which points the Germans frequently counter-attacked. While a further attack to capture the complete feature was being prepared it was essential for the Irish Guards to hold on. They did so.


    ‘On the 28t April, 1943, the positions held by one Company of the Irish Guards on the ridge between Points 212 and 214 were about to be subjected to an attack by the enemy. Approximately one Company of the enemy were seen forming up preparatory to attack and Lance-Corporal Kenneally decided that this was the right moment to attack them himself. Single-handed he charged down the bare forward slope straight at the main enemy body, firing his Bren gun from the hip as he did so. This outstanding act of gallantry and the dash with which it was executed completely unbalanced the enemy Company which broke up in disorder. Lance-Corporal Kenneally then returned to the crest further to harass their retreat.


    Lance-Corporal Kenneally repeated this remarkable exploit on the morning of the 30th April, 1943, when, accompanied by a Sergeant of the Reconnaissance Corps, he again charged the enemy forming up for an assault. This time he so harassed the enemy, inflicting many casualties, that this projected attack was frustrated: the enemy’s strength was again about one Company. It was only when he was noticed hopping from one fire position to another further to the left, in order to support another Company, carrying his gun in one hand and supporting himself on a Guardsman with the other, that it was discovered he had been wounded. He refused to give up his Bren gun, claiming that he was the only one who understood that gun, and continued to fight all through that day with great courage, devotion to duty and disregard for his own safety.


    The magnificent gallantry of this N.C.O. on these two occasions, under heavy fire, his unfailing vigilance, and remarkable accuracy were responsible for saving many valuable lives during the days and nights in the forward positions. His actions also played a considerable part in holding these positions and this influenced the whole course of the battle. His rapid appreciation of the situation, his initiative and his extraordinary gallantry in attacking single-handed a massed body of the enemy and breaking up an attack on two occasions, was an achievement that can seldom have been equalled. His courage in fighting all day when wounded was an inspiration to all ranks.’


    Ashton was severely wounded and taken prisoner at Carroceto in the Anzio beachhead on 30 January 1944, and died in enemy hands on 2 February - he was just 23 years of age and today lies in the Beach Head War Cemetery at Anzio.


    Sold with the recipient’s widow’s original Buckingham Palace investiture letter, addressed to ‘Mrs. Gladys Ashton’ and dated 18 January 1946, together with a related War Office communication, dated 5 July 1945, and a copy of the “Crusader” news sheet, 8 June 1943, in which appears confirmation of Ashton’s award of the D.C.M.


    Ashton A.  medals.jpg Ashton A. image.jpg
     
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