Private 15493 Alfred Aston

Aston Alfred 96 420x600

Died of Wounds at Sea on Saturday, 7th August 1915, age 19.
Commemorated on Panel 134 to 136 of Helles Memorial, Turkey.

7th Bn., South Staffordshire Regiment. 33rd Brigade of 11th Division.

Son of Isaac and Rebecca Aston, of 46, Hurst Lane, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Tipton, Resident: Unknown.

First landed Balkans, 21st July 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library, and St. Matthew's memorials.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/680635/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
41 High Street, Tipton, Staffs.
Isaac Aston (51, Cab Driver, born Tipton), his wife Rebecca (46, Dressmaker, born Tipton), and their 8 children: George (22, Moulder, born Tipton), Harold (21, Cab Driver, born Tipton), Harry (20 Canal Boatbuilder, born Tipton), Frank (15, Engine Fitter, born Tipton), Gertrude (13, born Tipton), May (7, born Tipton), Alfred (5, born Tipton), and Maud (3, born Tipton).

1911 Census
46 Hurst Lane, Tipton, Staffs.
Isaac Aston (61, Cab Driver, born Tipton), his wife Rebecca (56, born Tipton), and 6 of their surviving 8 children of 11: Frank S. (25, Cab Driver, born Tipton), Gertrude (23, Dressmaker, born Tipton), May (17, Dressmaker, born Tipton), Alfred (15, Gas Fitter for the Council, born Tipton), Maud (13, born Tipton), and Annie (8, born Tipton).

Personal Data

After Alfred's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £1/15/7d (1 pound, 15 shillings and 7 pence); this was paid to his father, Isaac, in January and March 1916. His War Gratuity was £3/0/0d (3 pounds exactly), this was paid to his mother, Rebecca, in September 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Alfred had enlisted in the previous year.

A Dependant's Pension was awarded to his mother, Mrs Rebecca Aston. This was 3/6d (3 shillings and 6 pence) per week from March 4th 1916, increasing to 5/0d per week from November 6th 1918.

Action resulting in his death

On July 1st 1915 the 7th South Staffs sailed from Liverpool on H.M.T. “Empress of Britain”, landing on the island of Mudros on July 18th. On July 20th the Battalion left Mudros for Cape Helles, landing the next day at “V” Beach. On the 25th, the battalion moved forward into the firing line relieving the “Drake” and “Plymouth” Battalions of the Royal Naval Division. This was short lived, as the battalion was destined to take part in the Suvla landings, and left Cape Helles for Imbros on August 1st.

On August 6th the Battalion left Imbros in 2 lighters towed by destroyers, and landed at “B” Beach of Suvla. “A”, “B” and “D” Companies were ordered immediately on landing, under command of Major G.A. Yool, to construct a trench facing east, from the south-east corner of Salt Lake to the shore to cover the landing of the troops following. Only a small party of Turks was seen about 800 yards away from the shore. This party fired and then ran away.

On August 7th, a patrol was sent towards Chocolate Hill and lost 2 men killed by enemy fire. The trench from South East end of Salt Lake to shore was completed. A few casualties suffered from long-range fire. By dusk, Chocolate Hill whad been captured by 6th Lincoln and 6th Border Regiments.

It is likely that Alfred Aston was one of the "casualties suffered from long-range fire", as on August 7th he was treated at the 2nd Field Ambulance (Royal Naval Division) for a bullet wound to the head. He was evacuated from Suvla on a "trawler for the Hospital Ship" but died from his wounds and was buried at sea.

For details of the subsequent 7th South Staffs action at Gallipoli, and their disasterous attack on Chocolate and Scimitar Hill, see Abraham Braden.

Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald August 28th 1915
Many Tipton people felt sad when they heard that Private Alfred Aston, of 46 Hurst Lane, a bright young Tipton lad, had died at the Dardanelles of wounds received in action. He was the youngest son of Mr Isaac Aston, and although very young had gained the esteem of all who knew him. He had been an apprentice at the Tipton Gas Works, and was well known in the fitting department. He had been a scholar at the Primitive Methodist Chapel, Bell Street. He enlisted in the 7th South Staffs on November 5th, and came home on furlough about nine weeks ago. His death took place on August 7th, which was about 2 or 3 weeks after he landed at the Dardanelles.
Young Aston, who was only twenty last June, had been very energetic in writing letters to his parents and friends in the few days he was privileged to take part in the fighting at the Dardanelles. He was one of the machine gunners. He wrote of a three day battle and of "giving the Turks something." He had sent his Army testament home to a friend.
When he was home on furlough he attended the funeral of a soldier at Tipton Cemetery. His loss was referrred to at the Primitive Methodist Chapel on Sunday last.

Tipton Herald September 4th 1915 (Picture)
This young man, killed in action at the Dardanelles, who joined the 7th South Staffs at the outbreak of the war, was a gasworks employee, and had only just turned 19. The son of Mr and Mrs Isaac Aston, of Hurst Lane, he was an amiable, good-hearted young fellow, beloved by all who knew him.