26 October 2017
Created by Barry Thompson © 2011-2017 Aston on Trent on Trent Local History Group, all rights reserved
Aston on Trent At War - Part 2 In 1695 an Act of Parliament was passed to enable William III to raise taxes to support the war against Louis XIV of France. A tax, in the form of a duty imposed on marriages, births and burials, was based on social ranking, the higher the rank the greater the amount of tax to be paid. Although not physically affected by the war against France the citizens of Aston on Trent were subjected to an attack on their pockets. The Act remained in force for five years. The Crimean War of 1854 -1856 when British, French and Turkish forces faced the Russian army of Tsar Nicholas I, sees the village’s first documented casualty resulting from a military conflict. This was Lieutenant Edward Shuttleworth Holden of the 23rd Fusiliers who died of wounds received at the storming of Sebastopol in September 1855. He was eighteen years old and the son of Edward Anthony Holden of Aston on Trent Hall. There is a window to his memory in the north aisle of the parish church. When the Winterbottom family took over the Aston on Trent Estate from the Holden's in 1898 there developed a close association between the village and the Leicestershire and Derbyshire Yeomanry, mainly through its association with Colonel William Dickson Winterbottom of Aston on Trent Hall. On the west wall of the parish church there is a memorial to the men of the Yeomanry who lost their lives in the Second Anglo-Boer War of 1899- 1902, some of whom would likely have been with the VI Brigade when it camped at Aston. The son of Colonel Winterbottom, Major Guy Winterbottom, whilst serving with the Derbyshire Yeomanry in northern Greece during the First World War, was killed in action in August 1917. There is a window in the south aisle of the church dedicated to his memory. A further eighteen of Aston’s men fell in that war, and throughout Aston’s history the village community cannot have undergone more suffering or made more sacrifices than in those years between 1914 and 1919. During the six years of the Second World War, as aerial warfare extended the boundaries of conflict, Aston on Trent became more involved than at any time during its long history. There was a decoy site along Derby Road, its purpose was to draw enemy aircraft away from the industrialised districts of Derby. In this it succeeded on one notable occasion. On a night in 1940 several bombs fell on the village. Fortunately nobody came to any harm and minimal damage was caused to properties. A Home Guard platoon was formed which carried out drill and weapon training in the grounds of the Rectory and manoeuvres in the fields around the village. One serviceman from the village lost his life in France in 1940 and his name appears on Aston’s Roll of Honour alongside the men who fell during the First World War. Those who gave their lives in the First and Second World Wars are commemorated in the form of Aston’s War Memorial Hall. Opened in 1926 and extended in 2006, it serves as a constant reminder to all who use it that those men of the village who made the ultimate sacrifice in order to preserve our way of life should never be forgotten.