Rev. Francis Patrick Bellesme ASHE
- Born: 15 Jan 1915, Smyrna, Turkey
- Christened: 14 Mar 1915, Boudjah, Smyrna, Turkey
- Marriage: Marion Islay JOHNSTON on 21 Feb 1950 in Southwark Cathedral, London
- Died: 6 Jan 2009, Royal Surrey Hospital, Guildford, Surry, England aged 93
- Buried: 24 Jan 2009, Eashing Cemetery, Godalming, Surrey, England
Another name for Francis was Pat.
FRANCIS PATRICK BELLESME ASHE
Patrick was born on 15 January 1915 in Boudja, Smyrna, Turkey, the youngest son of the Rev. Robert Pickering Ashe and Edith (Blackler) Ashe. He was taught by his mother until he was nine years old, and learned to speak colloquial Greek. In 1922 Smyrna was taken by the Turkish army. To avoid the pillage and massacre, the British subjects were taken off by the Royal Navy. He and his parents and two sisters were put on the R.N. Hospital Ship Main and taken to Malta, where they stayed for some six months as refugees.
His father, R.P. Ashe, was then offered the Chaplaincy of Cartagena, Spain, where they stayed for two years, and Pat learned to speak Spanish. On their return to Smyrna, they found that all their belongings had been looted. In England, Pat went to a private school, and then to Whitgift School, Croydon as a day boy. In 1934 he went to St. John's College Cambridge, and read Modern Languages and Theology. He spent one year at Westcott House Theological College, and in 1938 spent a year teaching at Adisadel College, Cape Coast, Gold Coast. Before going to the Gold Coast, Pat, his parents, Robert and Edith, and Oliver went over to Ireland to visit some of the places Robert knew as a boy. They stayed in Bread and Breakfast places, and visited Trim and Acton, and saw Henry's (Robert's grandfather) grave. All went well until they reached Galway, where an uninsured car crashed into them and tipped their car on its side. They all landed up in hospital (one of the new ones built from the proceeds of the Irish Sweepstake). The car had to be abandoned as a write-off, and they got no compensation, but it was amazing that they all survived.
While he was there, the Second World War broke out. He returned to England via the Sahara, and went back to Westcott House to finish his training. He was ordained in l939 in the Diocese of Southwark, and served his title at St. Mary's Church, Woolwich under the Rector, Cuthbert Bardsley, later Bishop of Coventry.
Towards the end of the war he joined the Friends Relief Service, and the team was sent to Cairo where he first met Marion, the daughter of the Very Rev. Francis Johnston. The team was sent to Samos, Greece, working under the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. On his return to England, Pat was made Chaplain to Youth for the Bishop of Southwark.
In 1950 he married Marion (Johnston) Bamber, and he was made Vicar of Blindley Heath, Surrey. He served as Vicar of Otley, Yorks, Vicar of St. Mary's Leamington Spa, and Rector of Church Stretton, Salop. In 1967 he and Marion started Project Vietnam Orphans. In 1974, in order to concentrate on the work of the Project, he resigned his Living, and they moved to her parents' old home in Godalming, Surrey. Approximately a hundred children were brought from Vietnam and adopted into Christian homes. After the fall of Vietnam, they started Christian Outreach, which first worked in Thailand, and later in several different countries.
They have seven children:
(1) Lois Mary, born March 10, 1951. She married the Rev. Kenneth Boullier in 1981 (7 March).
(2) Robert Patrick, born Feb. 11 1953. He married Var Hong in 1982 (7 Aug) and Aam Dachlan in 2002 (12 Feb).
(3) Francis John, born Feb.11 1953. He married Shelagh Prouse in 1979 (July 27).
(4) Islay Jane, born Jan. 6, 1958. She married Michael Downey.
(5) Andrew Gwynne, born Jan. 6, 1958. He married Evelyn Millard in 1988 (10 Sep).
(6) Ruth, born August 30, 1959. She married Dr. Yves Coyette.
(7) David, born Jan. 29 1963. He married Rosemary Thompson in 1995 (1 Apri1).
Pat retired in 1980. He became Hon. Domestic Chaplain to Loseley House, and Chaplain at St. Francis, Littleton. In 2005, in time for his 92nd birthday, Pat's book "Dust and Ashes" was published. Pat and Marion lived (from 1974) at 62 Busbridge Lane, Godalming, Surrey. Following Marion's death on 31 July 2008, Pat continued to live in Godalming, supported by a team of loving carers as well as his children.
Pat passed away peacefully in his sleep on 6 January 2009 at the Royal Surrey Hospital, to which he had been admitted on Christmas Eve suffering from pneumonia. A wonderful father, he is missed by all his family, but he is now reunited with our beloved mother in the presence of Jesus.
Extract from "The 1967 Year Book and Who's Who"
ASHE, The Rev. Francis Patrick Bellesme; born 15th Jan 1915, at Smyrna, Turkey, son of the Rev. Robert P. Ashe, Missionary in Uganda, 1882; educated Whitgift School, St. John's College, Cambridge, Wescott House, Cambridge; married 1950, Marion Islay, daughter of Bishop Francis F. Johnston, Bishop in Egypt; 4 sons, 3 daughters; Vicar of St. Mary's Church, Leamington Spa; curate, St. Mary's, Woolwich, 1940-44; Friends Relief Service, Greece, 1944-46; Bishop of Southwark's Chaplain to Youth, 1946-50; vicar, Blindley Heath, 1950-56; vicar, Otley, 1956-64; Address: St. Mary's Vicarage, Leamington Spa. Leamington Spa 25927.
Noted events in his life were:
Education: Whitgift School, Croydon; St. John's College, Cambridge.
MA: French, Spanish, Theology.
Theological College, 1939 To 1940, Wescott House, Cambridge.
Teaching, 1938 To 1939, Adisadel College, Cape Coast, Gold Coast.
Ordained Deacon, 1940.
Ordained Priest, 1941.
Curate, 1940 To 1944, St. Mary's, Woolwich, England.
Temporary Chaplain, 1944, Cairo Cathedral, Egypt.
Refugee work: Working for Friends Relief Service and UNRRA, 1944 To 1946, Greece.
Chaplain to Youth, 1945 To 1950, Diocese of Southwark.
Vicar of Blindley Heath, 1950 To 1956, Surrey, England.
Chaplain, 1954, Alexandria, Egypt.
Vicar of Otley, 1956 To 1964, Yorkshire.
Vicar of St. Mary's, 1964 To 1972, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, UK.
Rector of Church Stretton, 1972 To 1974, Shropshire.
Chairman of Project Vietnam Orphans, 1974 To 1980, Godalming, Surrey, England.
Honorary Chaplain to St. Francis, Littleton, 1980 To 2008, Surrey, England.
Francis married Marion Islay JOHNSTON, daughter of The Right Rev. Francis Featherstonhaugh JOHNSTON C.B.E., Bishop in Egypt and Gladys Katie HEAD, on 21 Feb 1950 in Southwark Cathedral, London. (Marion Islay JOHNSTON was born on 11 Nov 1920 in Port Said, Egypt, christened on 19 Dec 1920 in Church of the Epiphany, Port Saïd, Egypt, died on 31 Jul 2008 in 62 Busbridge Lane, Godalming, Surrey, England and was buried on 14 Aug 2008 in Eashing Cemetery, Godalming, Surrey, England.)