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The Fallen – 1918

The Fallen of Aston and Weston – Click an image to enlarge it 1918  

Private Edward Smith of the 1st/5th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers was born at Thulston in 1898 and was one of eight children born to Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Smith of Thulston Lodge. By the time he was 13 years of age he was working as a farm labourer and servant to James and Lavinah Wagstaff who ran a small dairy farm in the parish of Aston on Trent. He was 20 years of age at his death.      Throughout 1918 fighting along the Flanders front continued unabated and on the 10th April of that year Edward Smith of Aston lost his life. He has no known grave but is remembered with honour on the Ploegsteert Memorial along with 11,369 other missing soldiers. This battle area was known colloquially to the soldiers as ‘Plug Street’ and the memorial to their sacrifice is located about 8 miles south of Ypres.

Lance Corporal Ernest Smith of ‘D’ Company 10th Battalion Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment) was 28 years of age at the time of his death and had the distinction of being the first man of Aston to volunteer for the armed forces when the call came in 1914. His funeral was conducted by the Rev. H R. N. Ellison in All Saints’ parish church, Aston on Trent, and attended by many people from both villages. His connection with Weston was through the Sons of Temperance Friendly Society when its Premier Division was first opened at Weston. A number of officers and members from that organisation were present at the funeral. 

After the service many villagers and the Aston and Weston Volunteers joined the funeral procession to Aston’s Moor Lane Cemetery where volleys were fired over the grave and the ‘Last Post’ was sounded by a bugler. 

Private John Henry Tomlinson of the 7th Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment. He was the son of Joseph and Fanny Tomlinson of The Green, Aston, and was 27 when he died from shrapnel wounds to his back and right arm received in action on the 16th August. He left a wife and child. He enlisted around Easter of 1917 and was posted to France in November of that year. Prior to enlistment he worked for Mrs. Jane Johnson of Rectory Farm, Aston. His army chaplain, Rev. H. R. Thurlow wrote to his wife Lucy Ann to say that he had been buried in a cemetery near to the clearing station where he had been treated for his wounds. That cemetery can be found to the east of Amiens, France, and is known as the Daours Communal Cemetery Extension. 

Private Charles Cope of the 7th Battalion The Buffs (East Kent Regiment) died in action near Cambrai, northern France. His grave is located in the Awoingt British Cemetery, which is 2½ miles south-east of Cambrai. He was born at Stenson Lock near Derby in the year 1895, but at the age of 15 he was working as a cow boy and servant for John Wholey, a farmer of The Limes, Allestree, Derby. Private John William Walker of the 11th Battalion Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment) was buried in Weston on Trent churchyard on Tuesday the 20th November 1918 – he was 29 years of age. He enlisted in the Army on the 10th August 1916, having previously been employed as a waggoner’s by Mr. B. E. Porter of Hall Farm, Weston on Trent. He had served in France before being transferred to Italy where, whilst on active service in February 1918, he succumbed to shell shock. 

After being brought back to England he spent some time in a Cardiff hospital and afterwards at the Derbyshire Mental Hospital where he died on the 11th November leaving a widow and children. He was the son of widower William Walker, a cowman of Weston on Trent. It is to be regretted that John William Walker was not registered with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and therefore has no commemoration in perpetuity with that organisation.