Loring ASHHURST

Loring ASHHURST

Per his military service record (Depot), Loring Ashhurst stated on his Attestation Paper that he was born at Montreal, Canada.[1] (He stated on his naturalization application papers dated August 1916 that he was born in Charleston, South Carolina, in the United States of America).[2] He gave his age as 39 years and 9 months, his marital status as single (although it appears he was married), and his occupation as miner. His description on his certificate of medical examination was height 5 feet 7 inches tall, weight 160 lbs., with a dark complexion, brown eyes, and dark hair. His religious denomination was recorded as Church of England. He claimed that he had no previous military service.

He listed Alice Ashhurst, Linsley Street, Cobar, N.S.W., as his next of kin on his Attestation Paper. He listed his postal address as ‘Cobar, N.S.W.’ on his initial Application to Enlist in the Australian Imperial Force form.

The Wellington Times reported  ‘Askhurst’ as one of the 8 named men who offered themselves at the recruiting meeting held at Wongarbon.[3]  His surname is spelt differently in several newspaper articles.

He completed his medical examination on the 16th October 1915 at Wellington (the day the Coo-ees arrived at Wellington), and was attested by Captain Nicholas at Dripstone on the 18th October 1915.

A Medical History form in his service record shows he was admitted to Orange District Hospital during his time in the Coo-ee March from 23rd October 1915 to 25th October 1915 (while the Coo-ees were at Orange), with ‘congestion base right lung’, induced by ‘exposure to wet’.

Loring Asshurst appears to have been one of the 5 men reported in The Bathurst Times to have been admitted to Orange Hospital ‘suffering from influenza’ following a ‘drenching ‘.[4]  It had poured rain on the Coo-ees the morning they left Molong, on their way to Orange, on 23rd October 1915.[5]

He rejoined the Coo-ees after being in hospital at Orange.  A letter in the official correspondence of the march from W. T. Hitchen, Wallerawang, 31/10/15, addressed to Mrs Ashhurst, Cobar, reads:

Dear Mrs Ashhurst, your husband is still with the Coo-ees and is in good health. You will no doubt have heard from him before this.  Under the conditions of the march it is rather difficult at times to attend to correspondence …’[6]

After completing the Coo-ee March he went to Liverpool Camp to the Infantry Depot.

‘Askhurst’ was included in a list of ‘Wellingtonians at the front’ in the Wellington Times on 9th December 1915.[7]

The Statement of Service for Private Ashhurst in his service record shows his period of service was from 18th October 1915 until 9th January 1916.  He is listed as ‘Deserter’ in the Remarks column.

On 9th January 1916 Private Ashhurst of the Cooees Regiment or Corps was charged with desertion.  A warrant was put out for his arrest on 16th February 1916.

On 14th March 1916 Private Ashhurst was arrested at Cobar by the Civil Police. He was escorted back to the Liverpool Camp by the Military Police.

The Western Age reported that ‘A Cobar resident named Loring Ashurst, who enlisted with the Coo-ees, was arrested by police on Tuesday as a military deserter, notwithstanding the fact that he holds his discharge from Liverpool camp, dated 9th December last, stating that he was medically unfit’, and that ‘The military authorities claim that the discharge is irregular’.[8]

Loring Ashhurst sent a letter to the Editor of the Western Age, in which he stated ‘Upon arriving at Liverpool camp and being brought before the proper officers it only required a little explanation on my part to prove to them that it was through no fault of mine that the discharge, which I possessed, was irregular, but the fault of a military acting Adjutant-General’, and that ‘I consider that I have been treated very shabbily, after having done my best’.[9]

Private Ashhurst was discharged services no longer required on 17th March 1916.

[1] NAA: B2455, ASHHURST L.

[2] NAA: A1, 1916/22239  Loring Centennial Ashhurst, Naturalization application, August 1916.

[3] ‘On the Track’, Wellington Times, 18 October 1915, p. 3. Retrieved January 15, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article143388423

[4] ‘The “Coo-ees”’, The Bathurst Times, 26 October 1915, p. 2. Retrieved January 15, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article111234699

[5] ‘The Route March’, The Farmer and Settler, 26 October 1915, p. 3. Retrieved January 15, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article116655979

[6] Alex Halden (Joe) Miller,  Gilgandra Coo-ee Recruitment March correspondence and papers, 1915-1939, letter from W. T. Hitchen to Mrs Asshurst, Cobar, 31 October 1915.

[7] ‘Serving the Empire’, Wellington Times, 9 December 1915, p. 8. Retrieved January 15, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article143397726

[8] ‘Summary’, Western Age, 17 March 1916, p. 2. Retrieved January 15, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article136725191

[9] To the Editor’, Western Age, 21 March 1916, p. 2. Retrieved January 15, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article136724511

 

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