Capt. Robert Henry Nicholas ASHE
- Born: 1 Jan 1895, Woodhill, Portishead, Bristol, Somerset, England
- Christened: 29 Dec 1895, St. Peter's Church, Portishead, Somerset, England
- Marriage: Ivy Elise Anne WHITTALL on 15 Jan 1920 in Catholic Parish Church, Bournabat, Smyrna
- Died: 3 Sep 1966, General Hospital, Croydon, UK aged 71
- Buried: Mitcham Cemetery, Mitcham, Surrey, England
Another name for Robert was Bobbie.
Extract from "The Southern Times" dated Saturday, 12 January 1895
Ashe - Jan. 1, at Woodhill, Portishead, Somerset, the wife of Rev. R. P. Ashe (Uganda), of a son.
Extract from the UK Parish Register Information
Name: Robert Henry Nicholas Ashe
Baptised: 29 December 1895 at St. Peter's Church, Portishead, Somerset.
Father: Robert Ashe, Clerk in Holy Orders
Mother: Emma Lena E.
Robert Henry Nicholas Ashe was born on 1 January 1895 in Bedminster, Bristol, and baptised in St. Peter's Church. His mother was Emma Lena Edith (Jackson) daughter of Amelius Irving Jackson of Blackburn and Portishead; first wife of Robert Pickering Ashe. She died in 1897, and is buried at St. Peter's', Portishead at which Church R.P. Ashe served as Curate.
After her death, Robert H. N. Ashe went to live in Boudja, Smyrna with Robert P. Ashe's second wife, Edith Blackler (married in 1899.) He went to Dean Close School, Cheltenham.
Extract from England and Wales Census, 1911
Name: Robert Ashe
Birthplace: Portishead, Somersetshire
Census location: Institution (Note: must be Dean Close School), Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.
Note by Edith Ashe:
After war was declared in 1914, Bobbie volunteered along with eight other young men, and they went on a cargo boat to England. Before he left, he was mechanically inclined and was training under Mr. Elliot in B.& S. B . Rally. I said, 'Try and get into the Royal Engineers.' In England he applied, and they said they were sorry but the books had been closed and they were not accepting any more. Then an Officer said, 'Are you any relation to Ashe of Uganda?' Bobbie said, 'I'm his son.' So they opened the books, and entered his name.
He was sent to France in the ranks, promoted to Corporal, but he gave it up for the ranks, as he found too much shoved on to him. Then he met Grant McLachlan (his cousin) who was a Captain. Grant saw his Commanding Officer and said, 'You have a man here in the ranks worth very much to you. He speaks and writes French, Greek and Turkish.'
That brought him a Commission. He was sent to Greece and was put in charge of a Labour Battalion up in the mountains. He got malaria in the Struma Valley, but with the exception of a hurt shin, he was never wounded. The only communication we had with him was occasional news from America through a cousin he wrote to, and asked her to let us know.
In 1920 he married Ivy Elise Anne Whittall, and they lived for a time in Boudja. When Turkey fell to Kemal Ataturk's Army, he and his family were taken by a British Warship to Cyprus, where he worked for the Cyprus Copper Mines Corporation.
Extract from The Times Newspaper
15/01/1920. At Bournabat, Smyrna, Turkey, Robert Henry Nicholas Ashe to Ivy Elise Ann Whittall.
Note from his daughter Edith Florence Gray:
At the end of the First World War, Robert was listed as missing. However, one day he walked into the family home. He was first spotted by his sister, Mary, who thought he was a ghost, so she ran away and hid.
Ivy suffered from malaria, and they were told that if she did not leave the Island she would not survive. Robert got a job with Shell Oil in Venezuela, and worked there until the great slump in the 1930's. He did a variety of jobs in England, never claiming the dole until he regained his old job in Cyprus. By that time malaria had been eradicated. The family remained there until war broke out when they returned to England.
Robert was on the reserve of officers of the Royal Engineers, but was found to be unfit owing to a stiff elbow caused by a motor cycle accident some years before. However, he then volunteered for the R.A.F. and was taken on (they never noticed his stiff elbow!). He was used in their Intelligence Branch, first examining crashed German planes and tanks to see if they had any new technology. When the war moved from the desert to Europe, he questioned suspect Greek spies in Cyprus and Greece. At the end of the war, when in a team examining captured German installations, he was one of the first to enter Penemunde, the Heavy Water Installation.
After the war, he returned to Cyprus where he worked for the British Army as Garrison Engineer until he retired. His nephew of 23 was shot in the back by an EOKA gunman, and a grenade was thrown onto the balcony of their house in Famagusta. Ivy was quickly able to pick it up and throw it back. They returned to England, and bought a house in Addiscombe, where they lived until he died in 1966.
They had four children:
(1) and (2) twins Edith and Robert, born 4:11:1920.
(Robert died in infancy and is buried in All Saints' Churchyard, Boudja.)
Edith married Joyclyn 'Pat' Gray, a Colonel in General Glubb's Jordanian Army; she died in 2013.
(3) Isabelle Gwynneth (23:3:1922) married Greville Raymond-Barker and had two sons, James (1962) and John (1963).
(4) James Oliver Patrick Ashe had two children, Robert Stuart, and Rosemary, who married the Rev. Neil Milmine.
Robert H.N. Ashe died in 1966 and is buried in Mitcham Cemetery.
Extract from "The London Gazette" dated 1 August 1941:
Administrative and Special Duties Branch.
The undermentioned are granted commissions for the duration of the hostilities as Pilot Officers on probation:-
30th June 1941: Robert Henry Nicholas Ashe (100681)
Extract from Europeana 1914-1918
Corporal Robert Ashe, sweetheart card:
Corporal Robert Ashe, 139732, Royal Engineers, Z" Special Company, British Expeditionary Force, France. Card from sweetheart. This card was purchased in a second hand shop, and through interest the contributor traced R. Ashe descendants in the UK. Robert enlisted at the outbreak of war in 1914 at nineteen years old and a corporal when the card was sent. He swiftly acquired an officer's commission because of his fluency in French, Greek and Turkish. He was sent to Greece, reported missing and eventually returned safely. He married Ivy in 1920, and nothing is known of his sweetheart Jeannie.
Contributor: Rita Larkin
The card reads:
"My dearest sweetheart,
Just a card to wish you many happy returns of your birthday. I am just sending this card on alone dear, for I do so want you to get it by your birthday, but I will endeavour to write you a letter tomorrow. When are you coming home, Bob? I hope you have received my letter and magazine by now.
With my fondest love,
Your ever affectionate sweetheart,
P.S. Whatever can I get you for your birthday?"
Extract from the "Dundee Courier" dated Monday, 21 November 1955
Troops repel Cyprus midnight attack.
Terrorists made a midnight attack with rifles and Sten guns on an army encampment at the Mitsero Copper Mines, 25 miles west of Nicosia, Cyprus.
Guards at the camp occupied by men of the 1st Battalion, South Staffordshire Regiment, returned the fire and beat off the attackers without casualties.
Three British soldiers were injured when terrorists fired on a military vehicle near Limassol, and threw grenades at an army vehicle near Nicosia.
Two Commandos were slightly injured when grenades were thrown into the yard of a house in Famagusta occupied by a British officer, Capt. Robert Ash.
Extract from "The Decatur Herald" (from Decatur, Illinois) dated Monday, 21 November 1955
House Bombed on Cyprus.
Nicosia, Cyprus, Nov. 20 (AP): Cypriot terrorists continued their bombing "war" against Britons today. A grenade was thrown at the house of Robert Ashe, garrison engineer at Famagusta, while he and his family were inside. The explosion shattered windows, but caused no casualties.
Extract from England and Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations)
ASHE, Robert Henry Nicholas, of 167 Lower Addiscombe Road, Croydon, Surrey, died 3 September 1966 at The General Hospital, Croydon. Probate London 1 December to Ivy Elsie Anne Ashe, widow. £2,594.
Robert married Ivy Elise Anne WHITTALL, daughter of Frederick James WHITTALL and Adela WILKIN, on 15 Jan 1920 in Catholic Parish Church, Bournabat, Smyrna. (Ivy Elise Anne WHITTALL was born on 23 Jul 1892, christened on 21 Sep 1892 and died in 1978 in Oxford, England.)
Noted events in their marriage were:
• 2nd wedding: Official wedding to register the marriage at the Consulate, 6 Jul 1921, Consulate General, Smyrna, Turkey.