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  • Nottingham General Cemetery: CWGC headstone erected in 2019 to mark Tom Astill's grave.  Photograph Peter Gillings (Aug. 2020).
Person Details
Bramcote Nottinghamshire
Thomas (Tom) was the son of William Astill and his wife Ada Mary nee Taylor. William was born in Plumtree/Ruddington, Nottinghamshire, and Ada Mary was also born in Plumtree/Ruddington in 1867 (A/M/J Nottingham), the daughter of Edwin and Mary Taylor. 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. Stapleford birth registered 1889 (J/F/M Shardlow), William b. Bramcote 1891 (A/M/J Shardlow), Thomas (Tom) b. either Bramcote (Army record) or Stapleford (census) abt 1894, 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 Tom's surviving blood relatives which was compiled by his mother in October 1919. 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, but nor was his married sister Mary Elizabeth Wright. 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. (See 'extra information'). 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 (1911 A/M/J Nottingham) aged 14. 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). Thomas' brother John (Jack) served in the Royal Navy (Bristol Z/4445 Able Seaman) in the Royal Naval Division (Anson Bn) and died of wounds on 30 May 1918 (Bagneux British Cemetery, Gézaincourt). According to his 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 town labourer when he attested in the Army Reserve in 1911
03 Feb 1919
25
75462663 - CWGC Website
75076
Gunner
Royal Garrison Artillery
Tom attested in the Army Reserve (Special Reservists) for 6 years service in the Royal Field Reserve Artillery (RFRA) on 28 March 1911. There is also a Short Service Attestation which records he attested on 22 June 1914 at the age of 21 years, 218 days. He had served 3 years 86 days in the Reserve from which he was discharged 'in consequence of having enlisted in the Regular Forces (113rd Battery RFA).' He served at home from 22 June 1914 to 7 September 1915 (1 year 78 days) then with the BEF France, embarking Southampton on 8 September 1915 and disembarking France on 9 September although another record shows he served in France from 8 September 1915. He was in France until 30 January 1919 although he had at least one short period of home leave in England from 1 December 1916 to 12 December 1916. He was promoted to corporal on 16 January 1916 and appointed acting sergeant on 17 March 1916 but was reduced to the rank of gunner less than six week later according to a report in his surviving service documents. The report dated 3 June 1916 stated that he was ‘Awaiting trial, 22 April 1916. Tried by FGCM 1 May 1916. Sentence – reduced to the ranks for when on active service (1) Insolence to the (-) officer (2) refusing to obey an order.' He returned to England on 31 January 1919 for demobilization at Clipstone Camp, Nottinghamshire, but was still serving when he died on 3 February 1919. He had served in the regular army for 4 years 227 days. Tom was admitted to the Military Hospital, Berridge Road, Nottingham, from Clipstone Dispersal Camp on 31 January 1919 suffering from pneumonia and died on 3 February 1919. He was buried in Nottingham General Cemetery the following Saturday (grave ref. 03266). His service documents include a statement as to disability: '191231 L/Bdr Tom Astill, 7 White Lion Yard, Nottingham, first joined for duty 15 July 1914 at Nottingham (A1), age last birthday 26. Died at Military Hospital, Berridge Road.' A separate document provides a medical report: 'Proceeded to Clipstone Dispersal Centre, January 1919, Admission to hospital, Military Hospital, Berridge Road, Nottingham, 31 January 1919-3 February 1919 (3 days), pneumonia. Notes: ‘Was admitted on Friday Jan. 31, 1919. I saw him in the (-) and he was then in a critical condition – high temperature which reached 104 degrees, cough, septicemia(?), pulse 130, (-) and (-) [notes largely illegible but appear to describe the deterioration in his condition and the treatment] … He was well nursed but gradually sank and died at 1pm on February 3rd 1919.' According to a separate document, Tom's relatives were with him when he died. Tom qualified for the 1914/15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal. CWGC: His name is recorded on the UK Book of Remembrance which is held at CWGC Headquarters, Berkshire.
April 2019: Tom's grave in the General Cemetery is unmarked and CWGC plans to raise a headstone this year, the centenary of his death. Relatives are being sought by CWGC. (See photograph of headstone, August 2020.) Nottingham Evening Post, ‘Roll of Honour’, 6 February 1919: ‘Astill. On February 3rd at Berridge-road Military Hospital, Bombdr. T Astill, RGA. Interment Saturday 1pm, Soldiers’ Cemetery [General Cemetery], military honours. Father and brother Bill [William].’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Registers of Soldiers’ Effects: 75076 Gunner Tom Astill RGA, d. 3 February 1919, Military Hospital Berridge Road Nottingham. Legatee, father William Receipts for medals IRO L/Bdr Astill T RGA signed by father, 17 December 1920. Family details from Attestation documents: When he attested on 28 March 1911 he had been living outside his father's house for one month. He provided details of his next of kin and named his parents and brother William who were living at 16 Lomas Yard, Bellar Gate, Nottingham. This address was later amended to 16 East Street, Nottingham. These details were changed later to his father of 16 East Street, Bottle Lane, his mother at 45 Cross Street, Nottingham, and his brother William at Woolpack Lane. Two other brothers were named; Edward [Edwin] who was living in Nottingham but his address was not known, and John who was living on Lucknow Street. Finally, all family names were deleted apart from his father, William of 16 East Street, Nottingham. On 10 October 1919 Tom's mother provided information for the Army about her late son's surviving blood relatives and named: Father: William Astill, Exchange Road, West Bridgford, Nottingham Mother: Ada Mary Astill, 16 East Street, John Street. Brothers: Edwin Astill (30) of Crown Road, Nottingham and Wiliam (Bill) Astill (28) of Pleasant Place [Nottingham] Sisters: Mary Elizabeth Wright (32) of 2 Crown Street, Bluebell Hill Road [Nottingham], and Florrie Astill (17) of 16 (East?) Street, St John Street. Note: no record has been found for Florrie/Florence Astill who would have been born about 1902.
Remembered on

Photos

  • Nottingham General Cemetery: CWGC headstone erected in 2019 to mark Tom Astill's grave.  Photograph Peter Gillings (Aug. 2020).
    Tom Astill - Nottingham General Cemetery: CWGC headstone erected in 2019 to mark Tom Astill's grave. Photograph Peter Gillings (Aug. 2020).