Thomas Elsdon Ashford, V.C.
Shown here with kind permission of Colin Bowes-Crick Major (Retd), Royal Fusiliers Museum, Tower of London

2013 was the centenary of the death of Thomas Elsdon Ashford, V.C. He was born in Newmarket, served in the 7th Fusilier Regiment and fought in the action at Deh Khorja in the Second Afghan War in 1880. In this action on 16th August, Thomas, along with another, rescued a wounded man under fire from the enemy and was presented with the highest award for bravery – the Victoria Cross.

After leaving the army and returning home to England in 1884, Thomas moved to Leicestershire and lived in Skinner’s Lane with his wife and children. He was employed as a postman serving the area for over twenty years.

After suffering an attack of bronchitis on Boxing Day 1912, he remained in bed until his death on Friday 21st February 1913.

His funeral took place on Tuesday 25th February when over 8,000 people attended the service and burial.

A headstone marking the grave was not erected until 1992 after great efforts by local members of the Royal British Legion.

Thomas’ full story using archive material from various sources including military records, local historical groups, photographs and newspaper cuttings is in the process of being produced as a booklet by the Whitwick Historical Group and will be available later this year.