Frederick Aston was born at Chaddesley Corbett but lived in Stourbridge by 1914. He volunteered for the Worcesters, probably in 1914, and joined the 3rd Battalion. He was promoted and reached the rank of Sergeant. The Worcesters were deeply involved in the 1916 Battle of the Somme at Aveluy Wood, Ovillers and the Ancre Heights. They spent the early months of 1917 in the trenches south of Ypres preparing for an attack on the Messines Ridge, where the German position overlooked much of the British front line in Artois. On the evening of 6 June the Worcesters moved through Neuve Eglise to reach the front line by 9.30 p.m., ready to lead the attack of the 7th Brigade. There was steady shelling during the night and at 3.10 a.m. 19 great mines were set off. The troops were briefly paralysed by the noise and the dust, but then rushed off under a barrage of British shells to seize the German line. B and C Companies led the way and within seven minutes the objective had been won, the demoralised Germans either surrendering or in flight. As dawn came, the troops began to see the view of the plain below them, stretching along the ridge to Messines and into the distance as far as Menin. As they began to dig in, it was clear that this was an entirely successful attack and the Germans had been driven off the ridge. However, the Worcesters' losses were high, the great majority caused by enemy shelling. Of these 27 were killed, including Sergeant Frederick Aston. He is buried in Wulverghem, Lindenhoek Road, Military Cemetery (III F 15) and is commemorated on the Stourbridge and St. Thomas's church Memorials.
Market Street, Stourbridge, West Midlands, DY8 1AQ
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