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Harold Ashton was born in 1892 and was from Little Hulton in Lancashire.

In 1911 he was living at 236 Manchester Road with mother and father (Joseph and Annie), two younger brothers (Herbert and William) and sister (Leah). He was working as a brick labourer.

Harold enlisted in the 5th (Territorial) Battalion, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment on 6th April 1911. He was 19 years 4 months of age, single and had no previous military experience. He was working as a labman with the water and inlets company.

Harold attended the annual training camps in 1911, 1912, 1913 and 1914. It was during the 1914 training camp that Harold was embodied, on the 5th August.

Harold, as part of the initial deployment of the 1/5th Battalion, embarked at Southampton onto the converted troopship Tintoretto on 12th February 1915. They landed at Le Havre the following morning.

tintoretto

Tintoretto

The Tintoretto, romantically named she may have been, there was nothing romantic about her that February day when she took the Fifth aboard.

From conditions below it was clear she had been carrying cattle, but to brighten things up, some whitewashing had been done.

Cattle trucks Leading the Bolton men up the gang plank as commandlng officer was Major Hesketh, an  unexpected honour bestowed upon him -because of the sudden illness of Col. Slater, struck down at the last minute and to his own great chagrin by appendicitis.

The Tintoretto sailed under cover of darkness, with hatches  battened down, lights  extinguished against the risk of submarine attack and three destroyers as escort. Down below it was standing room only. There was worse to come on the other side.

On 1st April 1915, Harold returned to England and was disembodied being time expired, having served his full five years.

He returned to live with his wife at 77 Bridgewater Street, Farnworth, Bolton.

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Paul McCormick

Paul McCormick is the creator and administrator for the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment website. Since 2010 he has been researching the soldiers that served during the First World War and sharing their stories on his website. You can contact Paul through the website 'Contact Me' page or on Twitter and Facebook.
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