Laid to rest at the Field of Honor.

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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.


The funeral of Flight-Sergeant Sydney Ashby, M.M., of the Royal Flying Corps, who met his death on Saturday in a flying accident, took place in the Field of Honour at the Ipswich Cemetery last week. The remains were interred with full military honours, the coffin, covered with the Union Jack, being borne from the Ranleigh Road Military Hospital to the Cemetery on a gun-carriage lent by the Royal Field Artillery, by permission of Major Dunscombe (officer commanding), preceded by a firing party and buglers sent by the South Wales Borderers, by permission of Lieut.-Col. H.F.Fisher. Six of the deceased’s fellow flight-sergeants acted as bearers, there being also present Sub-Lieut. A.R.Thompson, R.N.A.S., Captain R.T.Neville, R.F.C., and Lieut. Jephson, R.F.C., whilst a large contingent of N.C.O.’s from the Royal Flying Corps followed. The officiating clergyman was the Rev. I. Morris, curate of St. Mary Stoke, and chaplain to the Ranelagh Road Military Hospital. The coffin was of polished elm, with brass fittings, the inscription reading: “Flight-sergeant Sydney Ashby, died March 16th 1918, aged 23.” The family mourners were the father and mother, Mrs. Robinson (sister), Miss Henry  (fiancee), and Mr. A.J. Holmes. There was a large number of Beautiful floral tributes.

The funeral arrangements were carried out by Messrs. Hastings and Son, under the personal supervision of Mr. P. Hastings.

1918 Suffolk Chronicle & Mercury newspaper

One Comment

  • Hello I’m Flight Sargent Sidney Ashby’s Great Nephew and I wanted to say your page answered a lot of questions that I had about his service.


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