Thursday 10 March 2016

First Man from Stevington to Join Up Dies

Lance Corporal Aspley

Friday 10th March 1916: The parents of Lance Corporal Henry George Aspley of 7th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, have just learned that he has died while a prisoner-of-war near Fricourt, Germany, from wounds received in action. The news caused quite a gloom in the village of Stevington, where the deceased was popular amongst his many friends and was held in much esteem. He was a good cricketer, a member of the Parish Church Choir and a general favourite. He was the first to enlist from Stevington after the outbreak of war joining the Colours on 1st September 1914(1).

Source: Bedfordshire Standard 10th March 1916

(1) This account is quite puzzling as Lance Corporal Aspley is stated to have been killed in action on 8th January 1916 rather than dying of wounds. Fricourt is on the Somme, rather than Germany as stated in the article, and the 7th Bedfords were in the line at the time opposite the village. The likeliest explanation seems to be that Lance Corporal was wounded on a patrol or in a raid, captured and died almost immediately. The 7th Battalion diary is very thorough and mentions no raids or men being captured but there is a cryptic entry for 7th January which reads: “Ever endeavour is being made to reclaim Matterhorn Trench” so perhaps it was here that Aspley was wounded and captured.

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