Ashbrook, Charles (Charlie)

Charlie Ashbrook was baptised at St. Mark’s Church Connah’s Quay on the 2nd June 1912 the son of John & Elizabeth Ashbrook, their address was 17, Union Street and John Ashbrook was a Shoemaker.

Charlie’s parents were John & Elizabeth Ashbrook (nee Ball) who had married in the September quarter of 1897 in St. Helen’s Church, Tarporely (Chester West 145/2/178)

The 1901 census shows that John & Elizabeth had set up home at Barracks, Sunny Bank, Kelsall, Cheshire.  John Ashbrook, 26 was a Teamsman for a Builder and had been born in Kelsall, Cheshire.    Elizabeth, 27 and their 2 children John H., 2, and Elsie 1 had been born in Utkinton, Cheshire.

By the 1911 census they had moved into 17, Union Street, Connah’s Quay and head of the household was John, 36, now a Boot Repairer and an employer, working at home.   Elizabeth, 36 tells us that they had been married for 14 years and 5 children had been born, all still living.   The family had expanded, John Herbert, 12 and Elsie 11 had been born in Utkinton, but Annie, 6, William, 4 and Edith , 1, had been born in Connah’s Quay.   Charlie was to be born the following year.    There was also a Boarder living there as well, Harry Blake.

The 1921 census, which was taken on the 19th June 1921, shows his parents, John & Mary Ellen Ashbrook, with some of their family, still living at 17, Union Street, Connah’s Quay.    John was head of the household, he was now 48 years and 6 months old and his work circumstances were the same as on the 1911 census.   Annie Ashbrook, 16 years and 10 months old was single.   Elsie Ashbrook*, 21 years and 3 months had been married to Gideon Hallmark, he was 34 years and 10 months old and had been born in Winsford, Cheshire and was a Platelayer of the London & North West Railway Company.     Harry Blake, 56 years and 6 months, was still a boarder living there, single and an Iron Worker in the Packing Dept. at John Summers & Sons, Hawarden Bridge, Shotton.    Charles is missing.

*Elsie & Gideon had married in the December of 1920 in a Civil Marriage at Holywell. (Flintshire (Mold)  HOL/45/31)

Charles met and  married Margaret Hughes in St. Mark’s Church, Connah’s Quay:-

Page 52 No 103 3rd June 1933 Charles ASHBROOK, 21, Fitter,  Silkworker, 17, Union Street, Connah’s Quay, father John ASHBROOK, Bootmaker & Margaret HUGHES, 22, Spinster, 1, Eyton Terrace, Flint, father Evan Ellis HUGHES, Labourer.   (After Banns.) Witnesses:- Albert N. BRETT & Linda JONES.

However on the 1939 Register, Charles gave his birth date as 18th May 1911, but his year of birth was 1912 as he was registered that year, so it was a clerical error.   There were 2 redacted records, these may have been their children but these records are closed.   They were living at 2, Waterloo Street, Connah’s Quay.   I believe that Margaret remarried on the 20th June 1946 to Thomas John Roberts in a Civil Ceremony at Holywell.(Flintshire (Mold) HOL/67/34).

Charles’s widowed mother, Elizabeth Ashbrook is seen on the 1939 National Register, living at 17, Union Street, Connah’s Quay, I believe that her husband John Ashbrook had died in the March quarter of 1934, age 61 years. (Holywell Vol. 11b Page 282).    This source gives us the dates of birth, Elizabeth had been born on the 1st February 1875 and as most women, who were not working in a job, was described as doing “Unpaid Domestic Duties.”  Her daughter, Annie Dalton was also a widow and had been born on the 28th August 1904 and was described as doing the same as her mother.    Gideon Hallmark had been born on the 20th August 1885 and was a Widower and a Permanent Way Labourer.   Norman Hallmark had been born on the 24th April 1927 and was “At School.”   Harry Blake had been born on the 2nd January 1864, was single and was “Incapacitated.”

Charles or Charlie as he was known as by his Army documents, had joined the Royal Welsh Fusiliers on the 24th July 1940, and then he was transferred to 116 Lt. AA Regt Royal Artillery on the 1st January 1942.   At some time later he was transferred to 25th AA Regt. Royal Artillery as that was his Regiment when he was wounded and died on the 27th March 1945.

In an attempt to shed more light on what happened to Charlie I looked at this Forum:-

Taken from the Forum on :-

CL1, Oct 4, 2009 #14

Greetings, Clive

Just started to visit the site. My late grandfather was with 82 Battery 25th Light Anti Aircraft Regiment. Originally they provided Bofors* cover for 50th (Northumbria) Division in the desert, invasion of Sicily, Normandy invasion, northwest Europe. Due to very heavy casualties and duration of hard fighting, 50 Div was sent back to England to become a training division, against Churchill’s resistance. However, 25th LAA Regt did not go with them. They joined 53rd (Welsh) Division around a location which was known as “The Island”, and stayed with them for the canal and river crossings involved in fighting into Germany, finally ending the war with 53rd Division at Hamburg when the Germans surrendered. Some of the troops stayed on during 1946 for law enforcement duties in Hamburg.

Mike Leonard, Oct 5, 2009 #15

* The Swedish firm of Bofors is famous above all for the seemingly immortal 40mm automatic cannon. However, a variety of other automatic (as well as non-automatic) guns have been produced by this manufacturer and this article is an attempt to do justice to them. (Taken from the website –

Information on the 25 Lt A.A. Royal Artillery up to February 1945.

Sadly this only takes the events up to the 18th February 1945 when the 25th Light A.A. Regiment went to Germany, where Charlie was to lose his life.

Because of that I contacted and joined ww2talk’s Forum on Information from

One of the expert Forum members replied with this:-

The 25th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, RA, were divisional troops of the 50th (Northumbrian) Division from 25 April 1942 to 1 December 1944, when 50 Div was broken up and returned home from NW Europe as a Training Cadre. Monty saying they’d done enough.

On 1 December 1944 the 25LAA joined the 53rd (Welsh) Division, which is somewhat poignant given Bdr Ashbrook was it seems Welsh or living in Wales and his service number indicates he was originally a Royal Welch Fusilier.

The 25LAA was formed in Liverpool on 1 June 1939 primarily for the defence of the Mersey, but spent most of its active life overseas; Western Desert, Sicily, NW Europe. The original battery’s were 81st, 82nd and 225th. The 225th Bty was diverted to Malta at the time the regiment went to the Western Desert in February 1941 and never rejoined the regiment.  It’s place was take by the 274th Bty, which had previously been ‘A’ Bty, 102nd (Northumberland Hussars) Light Anti- Aircract and Anti-Tank Regiment, RA, in September 1941. The 81st Bty was overrun by the Afrika Korps during the Gazala battles in June 1942 and never reconstituted. It was later replaced by the 138th Bty (which had been formed in Margate) in Novemer 1942.

It is unclear which Bty Bdr Ashbrook served with 82nd (Liverpool), 138th (Margate) or 274th (Northumberland).

Bdr Ashbrook died during or just after the crossing of the Rhine, which started on 23 March 1945 and they crossed on 24 March 1945. The 25LAA ceased to operate as a Light Anti-Aircraft unit on 27 March 1945 and were given other duties such as prisoner escorts, bridge protection, amateur RASC troops, HQ defense duties, etc. The circumstances of Bdr Ashbrook demise are currently unclear.

Best, Steve.

Steve Mac, 49 minutes ago 22.24 14th Feb 2018

Many thanks to Steve, we now know a little more about the 25 Light AA Regt. at the time of Charlie’s death.

Any information on Charlie’s early life to add to his story and to make sure he is remembered would be gratefully received.

Learn more about the other soldiers on the Connahs Quay and Shotton War Memorial

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