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Person Details
01 Oct 1897
John was the son of William and Ada Mary Astill nee Taylor. William Astill was born in Ruddington. Ada Mary Taylor was the daughter of Edwin and Mary Taylor and born in Ruddington in 1867 (A/M/J Basford). They were married in 1886 (O/N/D Bingham) and had six children: Mary Elizabeth b. Normanton on the Wolds 1887 (A/M/J Bingham), Edwin b. Bramcote birth registered 1889 (J/F/M Shardlow), William b. Stapleford 1891 (A/M/J Shardlow), Thomas b. Stapleford, Kate b. Nottingham 1896 A/M/J Nottingham) and John b. Nottingham 1 October 1897. Another child, Florrie Astill, was named on a list of his brother Tom's surviving blood relatives which was compiled for the Army by their mother in October 1919 after Tom's death in February the same year. Florrie was then 17 years old (b. abt 1902) and living with her mother. No other records have been found to identify this child and she was not named by Tom on his army records. In 1891 William Astill (25) a coal miner and Ada (24) were living at Church Street, Stapleford, with their two children Mary (4) and Edwin (2). Ada has not yet been traced on the 1901 Census but William (37), who was now working as a general labourer, was living at 25 Lucknow Street, Nottingham. Their five youngest children were in the home on the night of the census: Edwin (12), William (9), Thomas (7), Kate (5) and John (3). The eldest child, Mary Elizabeth, has not yet been traced on the 1901 Census but she married Ernest Edward Wright four years later in 1905 (J/F/M Nottingham). William and Ada may have already separated by 1901 as she is not recorded in the family home on either the 1901 or 1911 Census, but certainly by the time Tom attested in 1911 his army records show various changes of address for both his parents and his siblings. Unfortunately, these changes are not dated but give an idea of how the family members dispersed. (For details see record for Tom [Thomas] Astill on this ROH.) In 1911 William (44), a general labourer, was living at 16 Lomas Yard, Bellar Gate, Nottingham, with two of his children, William (19) a general labourer in a coal yard, and Kate (14). William senior employed a housekeeper, Annie Maria Newcombe (53, b. Lincolnshire) who was married. He declared on the census that he had been married for 26 years and had six children. Sadly, Kate Astill died later that year aged 14 (1911 A/M/J Nottingham). William and Ada's other sons, Edwin, Tom and John, have not yet been traced on the 1911 Census. The eldest daughter, Mary Elizabeth Wright (24), and her husband Ernest Edward Wright (34), a newsagent, were living at 8 Lomas Yard, Bellar Gate, Nottingham, in 1911. She and Ernest had four children; William Edward (5), Edith Emma (4), Beatrice Annie (2) and John Edwin (1 month). Ernest Wright attested in February 1915 aged 37 years 3 months and served in the Royal Field Artillery (8006). He was still living on Bellar Gate when he attested but was now working as a town labourer. Only one document of his Short Service Attestation survives. Ernest died in 1936 (Mar Nottingham) aged 58 and his widow probably married Laurence Wilson in 1942 (O/N/D Basford). John's brother Thomas served in the Royal Garrison Artillery (75076 Gunner) and died on 3 February 1919 of pneumonia in the Military Hospital, Berridge Road, Nottingham, after falling ill at Clipstone Dispersal Centre, Nottinghamshire, where he was awaiting demobilization (Nottingham General Cemetery). According to John's Naval record his sister Mrs E [Mary Elizabeth] Wright of 8 Lomas Yard, Bellar Gate, and his mother, Mrs A Geary (sic) of 5 Lucknow Street, Gedling Street, Sneinton, were informed of his death. There is a record of the death of an Ada M Astill in 1931 (Sep Nottingham, b. abt 1866).
He was a moulder when he enlisted in 1915.
30 May 1918
56932 - CWGC Website
Able Seaman
Anson Bn Royal Naval Division
Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. John enlisted on 11 October 1915 and was in the draft for the British Expeditionary Force on 10 July 1916. He joined Howe Battalion on 26 November 1916 but transferred to Anson Battalion on 7 February 1918. He was wounded in action on 27 May 1918 with gunshot wounds to the head, arm and abdomen and died at the 56th Casualty Clearing Station on 30th May 1918. He is buried in Bagneux British Cemetery, Gezaincourt (grave ref. III.C.3).
For additional details of John's family see record for his brother, Tom [Thomas] Astill, on this Roll of Honour. Nottingham Evening Post, 'In Memoriam', 30 May 1919: 'Astill. In memory of my dear brother Jack [John], died from wounds received in France, May 30th, 1918. Gone, but not forgotten by his sister Mary and brother-in-law Ernest.'
Remembered on