Laid to rest at the Field of Honour.

Born: 1895, Balham, London.

Died: 16th March 1918; age: 22; death by misadventure from injuries caused when his aircraft DH.9AC6350 broke up in mid-air during a test flight, at Martlesham Heath, Suffolk.

Inquest held 18th March 1918.

Residence: 46, Tantallon Road, Balham, S.W.12.

Recruited: 9th December 1912.


Rank: Flight Sergeant; Service Number: 506.

Regiment: Royal Flying Corps, Aeroplane Experimental Station.


Medals Awarded: 1914 Star + Military Medal issued 4th August 1917 – His Majesty the King has been graciously pleased to approve of the award of the Military Cross and Military Medal respectively to the under mentioned Officer and Non-commissioned Officer, in recognition of conspicuous gallantry and determination displayed in connection with the destruction of an Enemy Airship:

2nd Lieutenant: Frank Douglas Holder – Military Cross.

Sergeant: Sydney Ashby – Military Medal.


Grave Reference:


Ipswich Old Cemetery,



Relatives Notified & Address: Son of Henry Ashby, of 208, Queen’s Road, Battersea, London.




1901   1, Rinaldo Street, Balham, London.


Sydney was 5 years old and living with his parents & siblings.

Henry Ashby, 43, a General Labourer, born Whitstable, Kent.

Esther Ashby (nee Barrows), 39, born Herns Bay, Kent.

Naomi Esther Ashby, 19, born Whitstable.

Mabel Ashby, 13, born Whitstable.

Henry Herbert Ashby, 7, born Balham.

3 boarders.


1911   1, Rinaldo Street, Balham, London.


Sydney was 15 years old, an Electrical Engineer’s Assistant – Drapers. He was living with his parents & brother.

Henry, 53, a General Builder’s Labourer – Builders.

Esther, 49.

Henry, 17, a Civil Service Student.


Soldiers’ Effects to Henry Ashby – father.



On the night of the 16th June 1917, four enemy airships were sent on a bombing campaign along the East Anglian coast. Leviathan 48 had tried to drop her bombs at Harwich Docks – but bombed a farm 5 miles to the north. The Zeppelin tried to return home but was hampered by strong winds. Lieutenant Frank Douglas Holder and Sydney as observer and aerial gunner were sent up to intercept L48. They took off at 01:55 from Aeroplan Experimental Establishment, at Orford Ness in an FE 26 No. B. 401 (the aircraft was the first one made by Ransomes under licence at their Fore Street Works). They intercepted and fired 5 drums of ammunition into L48 which caught fire. Lt. Pierce Watkins in a BE12 finished off the Zeppelin, causing it to crash at Holy Tree Farm, Theberton, Suffolk. Frank was awarded the Military Cross and Sydney the Military Medal for shooting down an enemy airship.

Frank Holder started the war as a Lieutenant in the Royal West Kent Regiment, and later transferred to the Royal flying Corps after pilot training. Frank survived the war and returned home to Park View Road, Danbury. He resumed work at the family factory in Springfield Road making Feather Boas and other ladies underwear. He became the Deputy Lord Lieutenant. In 1950 – 1951 he became Deputy Mayor of Chelmsford, Essex. He was also a JP and lived at the time at “Lanes End” Seven Ash Green, Springfield, Chelmsford.

Frank Holder’s information thanks to The Mayor’s Office, Chelmsford, Essex.


Part of  the Zeppelin L48 is on display in Martlesham Heath Museum.


Posted in First World War

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *