Thursday, 4 February 2016

Details of the Death of Bernard Ashpole

Bernard Ashpole

Friday 4th February 1916: We have received more details concerning the death of Bernard Ashpole of the 7th Battalion, which readers will remember from our issue of 19th January in an incident for which Corporals Blanshard and Ivory have been recommended for the Distinguished Conduct Medal. Bernard Ashpole was the son of Arthur Ashpole of West End, Kempston. The Captain of his company writing to his parents said: “The Germans had exploded a mine that evening about 5 pm and followed this with a heavy bombardment of our line. Your son apparently entered the mouth of a mine shaft to take shelter and encountered a rush of gas which overcame him and he was unable to get out. Two NCOs in his platoon pluckily entered the shaft of the mine in spite of the gas, and with some considerable difficulty succeeded in getting him out, but it was unfortunately too late. His loss will be much felt in the Company, where he was exceedingly popular, and you have our sincere sympathy in the sad circumstances”. Sergeant H Hassall also of the 7th Beds wrote: “It was with deep regret I heard of the death of your son. He was a very good lad all through his career in the Army. I always found him to be a willing worker no matter what was required of him, and also as clean a soldier as anyone could wish. Only half an hour before the mine exploded I was talking to him about Bedford, as I am from the town myself; also Kempston in a way is connected with me, as a sister of mine is in the Schools there”.

Source: Bedfordshire Times 18th February 1916

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