Sergeant Hugh Nesbitt Ashcroft

 

Hugh Ashcroft (rear) 1912

 

Hugh Nesbitt Ashcroft was born at Urble, Coagh, County Tyrone, on 19 February 1887, son of servant and later horse trainer and farmer William Ashcroft and his wife Sarah (formerly Toss).

He enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 6 July 1908, the day the regiment was formed from its predecessor the North of Ireland Imperial Yeomanry (No.137 – later Corps of Hussars No.71007). His brother Albert also served in the regiment.

Ashcroft embarked for France on 20 August 1914 as part of C Squadron, North Irish Horse. He served with the regiment through the war.

On 31 December 1914 the Belfast News-Letter reported:

Sergeant Hugh Ashcroft, of the North Irish Horse, spent a week's furlough with his father and friends at Carryhill, Coagh. The sergeant, who has been on duty in France since August, was one of the troop who formed the escort to the King when in France, and he was one of the two sergeants who were presented by his Majesty with pipes as souvenirs of his visit, the other  recipient being Sergeant Munford, a Ballymena man. Sergeant Ashcroft told our representative that he had felt very fit during his four months' campaigning. The North Irish Horse had an early experience of active service when tthey formed the rear-guard to a column of infantry in the retreat from Mons. Since then they had been on outpost duty, scouring the woods for Uhlans, one squadron forming the bodyguard to Sir John French and another squadron – to which Sergeant Ashcroft is attached – being bodyguard to General Smith-Dorrien.

On 18 August 1916 the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment's war diary noted:

F.G.C.M. held on Sergt Ashcroft N.I.H. Accused was acquitted.

In the latter part of 1918 he was awarded a Special Reserve Long Service and Good Conduct Medal.

Sergeant Ashcroft was transferred to Class Z Army Reserve on 7 February 1919.

 

The image above is from a photograph of regimental sergeants at the Murlough Camp in 1912. See full picture here.