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John Henry Asher


Serial No:
Serial No. 1189

11th Field Artillery Brigade


John Henry Asher - Information

John was born in Hurstville in 1890, and was the oldest child of Daniel and Hannah Asher. After high school, John attended Sydney Teacher’s Training College, and soon began working as a School Teacher in Mittagong. He decided to enlist in the AIF in August 1915 when he was 24. Consequently, this pushed John to marry his sweetheart Maisie Heath Rainbow before he shipped out.

After enlisting at Warwick Farm Depot, John was posted as a Trooper to the 12th Light Horse Regiment, and embarked Sydney upon the SS Hawkes Bay on the 23rd of October 1915. He landed in Egypt just as the Gallipoli campaign was winding down. After serving with the Light Horse for a short time, John was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant on the 27th of March 1916 and transferred to the 4th Division Artillery at Tel-el-Kebir Camp. On the 9th of April, he was taken on strength to the 11th Field Artillery Brigade and was posted to the 43rd Battery at Serapeum.

In early June, John left Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force in France, disembarking at Marseilles. While stationed with the 11th Field Artillery, 111th Howitzer Brigade, John was promoted to Lieutenant on the 1st of October. He was a popular officer within the unit, and a great leader to his men. Unfortunately tragedy struck when the battery was stationed at Bailleul (near Vimy Ridge) in France. At 10pm on the 2nd of September 1917, John and a few other officers were passing a building just as a German plane flew over and dropped a bomb. The bomb hit the building sending shrapnel flying and causing the wall in which the officers were passing to collapse. John and his colleagues were buried in the rubble. The surrounding troops quickly removed the wounded officers. John was still alive, although badly injured. He was rushed to the 53rd Casualty Clearing Station, but died of his wounds a short time later, he was just 27. The whole brigade gave John a full military burial. Sadly his brother Charles was unable to attend, as he was recuperating from shrapnel wound. They buried John in Bailleul Communal Cemetery.

Back in Australia, while John was at war, his wife Maisie was living with her family at Kelvin in Mittagong. Sadly, she had hardly any time with her husband before he shipped out. Then after spending almost two years waiting for his return, she was told of his death.