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Lieut.-Colonel L. F. Ashburner D.S.O., M.V.O.

Medal & Mortality index

L F Ashburner
Roll of Individuals entitled to the South Africa Medal & campaign bars
Issued 14/06/02
Captain Ashburner L F, Dreifontein, Johannesburg, Wittebergen, Cape Colony

1902 : 2nd Battalion Royal Fusiliers
Captain L F Ashburner D.S.O. South Africa 1901, South Africa 1902; previous Durham Light Infantry - Queen South Africa & King South Africa medals.

Delhi Durbar Medal Roll of the 2nd Battalion, the Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment)
Captain L F Ashburner M.V.O., D.S.O. ; Brigade Major, Nasirabad Brigade

1913 Incoming Passenger List from Karachi, Pakistan in April, 1913 to Liverpool list two sons, Lionel C B Ashburner and Peter R Ashburner

London Gazette 10 September 1901 :
Lieutenant L. F. Ashburner, Durham Light Infantry (now Captain Royal Fusiliers).

London Gazette March 4 1902 :
The Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment), Lieutenant Edward C. Jennings to be Captain, vice L. F. Ashburner, D.S.O., seconded. Dated 26th February, 1902

Medal Card :
Captain L. F. Ashburner, M.V.O., D.S.O.
4th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers.
M.I.D. London Gazette 20-10-14 page 8385
M.I.D. London Gazette 17-2-15 page 1660

Lieutenant-Colonel L. F. Ashburner, M.V.O., D.S.O.
Royal Fusiliers. Staff,
M.I.D. London Gazette 28-1-16 page 1196
M.I.D. London Gazette 27-3-16 page 3280

Major Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel L. F. Ashburner, M.V.O., D.S.O.
Royal Fusiliers.
M.I.D. London Gazette 4-1-17 page 221

Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel (temp Brigadier-General) L. F. Ashburner, M.V.O., D.S.O.
Royal Fusiliers. Staff,
M.I.D. London Gazette 11-2-17 page 12909


The morning of the 23rd opened sunny and bright. The weather was set fair with a breeze from the east, a cloudless sky, and the promise of great heat at midday. A pale blue haze rounded off the distance, and softened the outlines of the tall, gaunt chimney stacks with which the entire country is dotted.

The northern side of the canal is here dotted, throughout the entire length of the attacked position, with a number of small fir plantations which proved of inestimable value to the enemy for the purpose of masking their machine-gun fire, as well as for massing their infantry preparatory to an attack.

About nine o'clock the German infantry attack, which had been threatening for some time past, took definite shape and four battalions were suddenly launched upon the head of the Nimy bridge. The bridge was defended by a single company of the R. Fusiliers under Captain Ashburner and a machine-gun in charge of Lieut. Dease.

The Germans attacked in close column, an experiment which, in this case proved a conspicuous failure, the leading sections going down as one man before the concentrated machine-gun and rifle fire from the bridge. The survivors retreated with some haste behind the shelter of one of the plantations, where they remained for half an hour. Then the attack was renewed, this time in extended order. The alteration in the formation at once made itself felt on the defenders. This time the attack was checked but not stopped. Captain Ashburner's company on the Nimy bridge began to be hard pressed and 2nd Lieut. Mead was sent up with a platoon to its support. Mead was at once wounded—badly wounded in the head. He had it dressed in rear and returned to the firing line, to be again almost immediately shot through the head and killed. Captain Bowdon-Smith and Lieut. Smith then went up to the bridge with another platoon. Within ten minutes both had fallen badly wounded. Lieut. Dease who was working the machine-gun had already been hit three times. Captain Ashburner was wounded in the head, and Captain Forster, in the trench to the right of him, had been shot through the right arm and stomach. The position on the Nimy bridge was growing very desperate, and it was equally bad further to the left, where Captain Byng's company on the Ghlin bridge was going through a very similar experience. Here again the pressure was tremendous and the Germans made considerable headway, but could not gain the bridges, Pte. Godley with his machine-gun sticking to his post to the very end, and doing tremendous execution. The defenders too had most effective support from the 107th Battery R.F.A. entrenched behind them, the Artillery Observer in the firing line communicating the enemy's range with great accuracy.

London Gazette 8 December 1914 :
4th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers.
Captain L. F. Ashburner, M.V.O., D.S.O.

London Gazette 18 January 1915 :
Captain L. F. Ashburner, M.V.O., D.S.O., The Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment), and to be seconded. Dated 14th December, 1914.

London Gazette 28 January 1916 :
Mentioned in Dispatches by Ian Hamilton for operations described on 11th December 1915:
Lieutenant-Colonel L. F. Ashburner, M.V.O., D.S.O., Royal Fusiliers.

London Gazette 2 February 1915 - To be Brevet Lieutenant-Colonels :
Major-L. F. Ashburner, M.V.O., D.S.O., Royal Fusiliers.

London Gazette 10 November 1916 :
R. FUS.—Brev. Lt.-Col. L. F. Ashburner, M.V.O., D.S.O. (R. Fus.), to comd. a Bn. and to be temp. Lt.-C'ol. 26 Aug. 1916.

London Gazette 1 August 1919 :
23rd Bn.—
Maj. (Bt. Lt.-Col.) L. F. Ashburner, D.S.O., M.V.O., to be actg. Lt.-Col., 15 Apr. 1919, and to be temp. Lt.-Col. while commanding the Bn. -1 Aug. 1919, with seniority 26 Aug. 1916.

Medal Card
Brig Gen Ashburner L F (And R Fus) NW /5/11117 B.W. V.M. IV x 6844 26.5.22 & Emblems

Newspaper cuttings
Ashburner - Reported missing, now believed drowned when returning from Belgium, on May 27, 1940, John Forbes Campbell Ashburner, Durham Light Infantry, beloved youngest son of the late Lieut.-Colonel L. F. Ashburner D.S.O., M.V.O., Royal Fusiliers, and of Mrs Jones, Owermoigne Rectory, Dorchester.

Ashburner - In Nov 1941, the result of a flying accident, Lieutenant-Commander Lionel Charles Brian Ashburner, R.N. (Fleet Air Arm), eldest son of the late Lieut.-Colonel L. F. Ashburner D.S.O., M.V.O., Royal Fusiliers, and of Mrs Jones, Owermoigne Rectory, Dorchester.

History of the Royal Fusiliers :.

Brig. -General L. F. Ashburner was present at the Suvla landing as brigade major of the 34th Brigade, and later on commanded the 96th Brigade at Messines. He was five times mentioned in despatches, and for a time was Inspector of Infantry in England.

Y (or " C ") Company, under Captain Ashburner, lay north of Nimy, its right joining with the 4th Middlesex, and its left a little north of Lock 6. Captain Forster, with two platoons, held Nimy Bridge ; the two other platoons and company H.Q. were entrenched at the railway bridge and on the canal bank to the left of it.

Ashburner sent to Nimy for reinforcements, and Captain Carey sent up Second Lieutenant Mead with a platoon. He was shot in the head at once, but went back whistling to have it dressed behind the trenches. He returned to the front and was again shot through the head and killed. All this time the company kept up a destructive fire against the German infantry who lost very heavily. More reinforcements were sent for, and Captain Bowden-Smith and Lieutenant E. C. Smith went up with a platoon. The latter was killed and the former was left dying on the retirement. Captain Fred Forster, of Ashburner's company, was also killed. Ashburner himself was wounded near the eye, and Lieutenant Steele was hit. The fight grew hotter and more terrible. The machine gun crews were constantly being knocked out. So cramped was their position that when a man was hit he had to be removed before another could take his place. The approach from the trench was across the open, and whenever the gun stopped Lieutenant Maurice Dease, the young machine gun officer, went up to see what was wrong. To do this once called for no ordinary courage. To repeat it several times could only be done with real heroism. Dease was twice badly wounded on these journeys, but insisted on remaining at duty as long as one of his crew could fire. The third wound proved fatal, and a well deserved V.C. was awarded him posthumously. By this time both guns had ceased firing, and all the crew had been knocked out. In response to an inquiry whether any one else knew how to operate the guns Private Godley came forward. He cleared the emplacement under heavy fire and brought the gun into action. But he had not been firing long before the gun was hit and put completely out of action. The water jackets of both guns were riddled with bullets, so that they were no longer of any use. Godley himself was badly wounded and later fell into the hands of the Germans. He was cheered in his captivity to learn that he also had been awarded the V.C* At 1.40 p.m. the battalion was finally ordered to retire, and did so in perfect order. Ashburner's company had lost about 75 men, and the Germans were within 200 yards of their position. They fell back slowly upon Mons and, when they were well clear of their position, Byng's company retired. For three-quarters of an hour this company had been under direct frontal attack from the woods in front ; but the Germans had made no headway. Now they had about a mile to cover, the first 250 yards over open ground with the German guns firing shrapnel at 500 yards range, and a heavy rifle fire. There were two railway embankments to cross ; but the company suffered little beyond thrills despite the heavy fire.