The War Dead (Names beginning with ‘A’)

Percy Alson

Service Number 56217, a Gunner in the 25th Heavy Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery.  Born on the 29th November 1890 in Battersea, he was the son of Arthur Alson (born Blentchford, Middlesex 1866) – a signwriter & decorator – and Annie (born Wandsworth, London 1869). The family lived at 45, Haydons Road, South Wimbledon when war broke out. According to the 1891 census Percy had only an elder sister, Minnie (born Surrey 1889), but she had either died or moved away by the time of the census in 1911. However by 1911 the family had grown considerably: – William Wakeley Alson (born Battersea 1894 – an assistant calico printer), Ernest Alson (born Battersea 1896 – an errand boy), Florence Maud Alson (born Battersea 1897), Edith Mary Alson (born Battersea 1898 – at school), Jessie Elizabeth Alson (born Wimbledon 1900 – at school), Mabel Victoria Alson (born Wimbledon 1902 – at school), Harrold Alson (born Wimbledon 1904 – at school), Lewis Edward Alson (born Wimbledon 1905 – at school), Frederick Victor Alson (born Wimbledon 1906 – at school), Doris Amy Alson (born Wimbledon 1909) and George Alson (born Wimbledon 1910) Percy began his schooling at Haydons Road Boys School in 1899 and by 1911 was employed as a Meter Examiner.  He enlisted as a volunteer at Wimbledon on the 3rd December 1914 at the age of 24. At this time he was described as a ‘Motor Man’ weighing 132 pounds and 5ft 8½ins in height. His chest size was 35½ ins. and its expansion 2½ ins. He died of wounds on the 28th July 1917 and besides being remembered on the War Memorial at All Saints,’ he is also commemorated on the War Memorial at S. Stephen’s Church, Lewisham. An additional note says that for a time he served as a Sergeant Major in the 4th Volunteer Battalion of the Norfolk  Regiment He was awarded the Victory Medal and his next of kin received a War Gratuity of £8 9s. His brother William died in 1921 as a result of gas poisoning. He is buried in Canada Farm Cemetery, Belgium.

Canada Farm Cemetery, Belgium

Harold Arman

Service Number 5916, a Rifleman in the 2nd Company, 1st /8th Battalion, London Regiment (Post Office Rifles). He was the son of Charles Arman (born Winchester 1859 – working in the overseas postal service), and Sarah (born Frimley, Surrey 1858), of 9, Norman Road, South Wimbledon. Harold was born at 99, Haydons Road, Wimbledon on 1st June 1890 and was baptised by the Rev. Pickering at All Saints’ Church on 3rd August that same year. He had an elder sister – Florrie (born Battersea 1886 – a schoolmistress in Mitcham).  He began his schooling at the Haydons Road Boys School in 1897. He became an Overseer at the Wimbledon Sorting Office and, in May 1916, at the age of 26, he enlisted at Wimbledon. He died at Rouen of wounds on 22nd October 1916, aged 26. (581 others died on this day). He must have been married at this time for his effects – £5 15s. 6d. – were sent to Mary, his widow. He lies in Grave II. B. 5A. BOIS GUILLAUME COMMUNAL CEMETERY

Bois Guillaume Communal Cemetery, France

Joseph James Arnold

Service number 46434, a Gunner in the Royal Field Artillery/”A” Battery, 88th Brigade.  He was the son of Thomas William and Sarah Elizabeth Arnold, of 24, Wandle Rd, South Wimbledon. He began his schooling at the Haydons Road Boys School in 1900. He was enlisted into the army in London and died of wounds in Flanders aged 21 on 10th April 1917. He is buried in Grave VI. D. 4. BETHUNE TOWN CEMETERY

Bethune Town Cemetery, France

Frederick Simeon Arnold

Service Number 32519, a Private in the 5th Battalion, Duke of Edinburgh’s Wiltshire Regiment. He was the son of Simeon Arnold (born Ottery St Mary, Devon 1858 – a jobbing builder & decorator), and Jane (born Kensington 1858), of 13, Hubert Rd. (now All Saints’ Road), South Wimbledon. The family had six children in 1911: – Henry James (born Clapham Junction 1884 – a Schoolteacher), Nellie Isabella (born Wimbledon 1886 – a Dressmaker), Winifred Charlotte (born Wimbledon 1888 – a Schoolteacher), Kathleen Mary (born Wimbledon 1890 – a Clerk Commercial) and Frederick Simeon himself (born Wimbledon 1896 – a Clerk Commercial) Frederick enlisted at Woolwich in October 1914 and died at Mesopotamia of Wounds on 6th December 1917 aged 22. He is interred in Grave III. J. 3. BAGHDAD (NORTH GATE) WAR CEMETERY. His father received 14s 4d as payment for his effects. The two large standard candlesticks in front of the high altar at All Saints’ were given in his memory and the inscription reads:- “To the Glory and service of God and in loving memory of Fred Arnold who gave his life for his country.”

Baghdad (North Gate) War Cemetery

John Edward Arter

Service Number G8701, a Private in the 3rd Battalion East Surrey Regiment. He was the son of John Arter (born Oxshott, Surrey 1850 – a general labourer), and Anne (born Oxshott, Surrey 1851), of 24, Tennyson Road, Wimbledon.  John was born in Wimbledon in 1886 and by the age of 15 was an errand boy in a printing works. He had a younger brother, William (born Putney 1888) and a younger sister, Lilian Eva (born Wimbledon 1892). Having enlisted in the army in 1906, he was killed in action on 13th August 1916. The account of his death reads: – “on, or since 13th August death presumed” (in other words his remains were never found)  His commemoration  can be found on the Pier and Face 6 B and 6 C of the  THIEPVAL MEMORIAL. His effects – totalling £12 17s 8d were to go to his wife Nellie.

Thiepval Memorial, Picardy, France

James Edwin Ashdown

Service Number 47297, a Corporal in the Northumberland Fusiliers, 22nd (Tyneside Scottish) Battalion. James was born in 1887 in Kennington, Lambeth and was a plumber by trade. In 1911 the family lived at 43, Baker Street, Brixton, Lambeth. Head of the family at this time was Mary Ann Richmond, his grandmother (born Lambeth 1835 – a widow).  Also living at the address was James’ mother Emma Anne (born Lambeth 1866 – a Foster Mother under the L.C.C.), his sisters Amy Lilian (born Lambeth 1889 – a bottler and packer for a manufacturing chemist) and Daisy Agnes (born Lambeth 1891 – also a bottler and packer for a manufacturing chemist). Also living at the address were Dora Smith (born Wandsworth 1910- a nurse child*) and Grace Friswell (born Lambeth 1911 – also a nurse child). James enlisted in the army at Camberwell, by which time he was living at 88, Hubert Road (now All Saints’ Road), South Wimbledon and was married to Ellen. During the Battle of Estaires he was declared ‘Missing in Action’ – presumed dead – on 9th April 1918, aged 32.  His commemoration can be found on Panel 2. PLOEGSTEERT MEMORIAL. His ‘War and Victory’ Medals were offered for sale on the internet in October 2018 priced at £225. His effects – £4 12s 9d – were sent to his widow.

* A foster-child. Quite often, but not always, the child would be illegitimate

The Ploegsteert Memorial

Leonard Walter Ausling

Service Number L/45168 a Driver in the Royal Field Artillery, “A” Battery – 190th Brigade. Born in Tooting on 12th June 1898, he was the son of Joseph Ausling (born Notting Hill 1872 – a worker), and Mary Ann (born Surrey 1871).  He was baptised at Tooting Graveney at which time the family lived at 77, Trevelyan Road. By 1911 they had moved to 33, Dryden Road, Wimbledon and Leonard  – who had received some of his education at the Haydons Road Boys School was now recorded as being away at Industrial School. He had six siblings: – Lily (born Tooting 1895 – a laundry girl), Beatrice (born Tooting 1901 – at school), Joseph James (born Tooting 1903 – at school), Charles (born Tooting 1906 – at school), Francis (born Wimbledon 1909), and Ella (born Wimbledon 1911). He died in France of wounds on 11th November 1918 aged 21. His grave can be found at I. D. 24. KEZELBERG MILITARY CEMETERY. By the time of his death his mother was widowed and living at 2, Leyton Road. His effects – totalling £27 5s 10d – were sent to her.

There is further information and photographs about Leonard Ausling on the Mitcham War Memorial Site

The Kezelberg Military Cemetery

Ernest Walter Ayers

Service Number 40897, a Private in the South Staffordshire Regiment, 1st Battalion. Born in Wandsworth in 1880, he was the son of George Walter Ayers – a blacksmith, and Emily. He was baptised on 7th August 1880 at S. Anne’s Church, Wandsworth by the Rev. Ambrose Wilson. At this time the family were living at 2, Cumberland Terrace, Upper Tooting.  He became a motor mechanic by trade, but was unemployed and single in 1911. He later married Lily, and the family lived at 20, Laburnum Rd., South Wimbledon. He was enlisted into the army in Wimbledon and died in France on 4th October 1917 at the age of 38.  His death is recorded as “on or since 4th October – death presumed.”  His remains were never found. He is commemorated on Panel 90 to 92 and 162 to 162A of the TYNE COT MEMORIAL. His effects – totalling £7 16s 5d were sent to his widow Lillian.

Tyne Cot Memorial
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