Born on July 17th 1845 in Stratton Cornwall Father : Robert K. Ash Occupation : Inn Keeper
House where Robert Vacy Ash was raised in his early years
He was the third son and fourth child of Robert Knott and Mary Ann Vacy. He was the third born son of the marriage, his elder brothers were Thomas and William, and he also had an older sister Mary Ann.
1851 census United Kingdom : aged five Robert was living at 62, The High Street, Stratton along with his parents, his two older brothers and an older sister. His father’s occupation is listed as Hotel Keeper
1857 : His sister Mary Ann died.
1861 census : He is living in Paddington, London with an uncle and his brother William. William and Robert’s occupations are both listed as Medical Students. Meanwhile his mother Mary Ann Ash is now listed as a widow and continues to live in Stratton, Cornwall. Her occupation is listed as Inn Keeper in keeping with her carrying on the family business after the death of his father.
March 15th, 1866 : He passed his examination at St-Mary’s Hospital (Medical Times and gazette p. 324 March 24, 1866)
July 24th: He was admitted as a member of Royal College of Surgeons in London at a meeting of the Court of Examiners on the 24th Jul 1866, stated in the British Medical Journal of the 11th Aug 1866. He was also a Licentiate of the Society of Apothecaries, Licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians and had an M.B. from the University of Aberdeen
1867 : His medical registration with the General Medical Council of the UK for 1867 states that he was living at Stratton, Cornwall
April 2nd : Listed as an Assistant-Surgeon with the Royal South Lincoln Regiment since (Hart’s List 1868)
1868 : M.A. at Aberdeen university
February : Wrote an article in the British medical journal. At the time he was practising in the town of Grantham
1871 census United Kingdom : Boarder at Sarah Richardson home, she was a surgeon widow
It is presumed that he started the year in Truro. His medical registration with the General Medical Council of the UK states that in 1871 he was living in Truro which is in Cornwall.
September 30th 1871: He joined the Army. He was appointed Assistant Surgeon (London Gazette 8th Mar 1872) and stationed at Cape of Good Hope (Hart’s List of 1871)
1872 : Service in Dover, Kent
July 6th : Posted to the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa.
November 18th, 1872 : Back in England
early 1873 : Service in Newhaven March 1st : Appointed surgeon
April 15th : Posted to the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa until 1875
March 29th 1875 to June 4th : Went back to UK on leave
June 5th : Posted back to Cape of Good Hope South Africa
1879 : Served in the Zulu war against the Seknkuni. He stayed on the Natal side of the Tugela river and did not cross into fighting territory
March 15th, 1880 : Returned to England. Service at Netley Hospital
1881 census United Kingdom : Unmarried and living in Quarters in the men block at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Netley, Hampshire. His rank is listed as Surgeon
September 2nd 1882 Excerpt from the British journal of medicine “On Friday, August 11th, No. 2 Bearer Company embarked on board the City of Paris, en route to Egypt. with Surgeons Vacy Ash and 143 rank and file of the Army Hospital Corps. Officers of the No. 2 Bearer company then moved to Kassassin on the ship Carthage according to the book History of the medical department Tome II. Before the battle of Tel-el-Kebir (September 13th), the No. 2 Bearer company was attached to the 2nd Division. They would later occupy the city on Benha and Tanta with the 2nd Division.”
The No. 2 Bearer company was mentioned as having poor discipline amongst its staff
He also served with the Dragoon Guards
December 16th 1882 Excerpt from the British Journal of Medicine “We learn from Cairo that under the Gazette of November 17th, containing the lists of honours and promotions among the army medical officers who had been serving during the campaign, reached that city one omission gave rise to considerable comment. The promotions in the army medical ranks included two of each grade on service in Egypt, and generally the two seniors were selected for advancement. In the rank of surgeon, however, the senior, Dr. Vacy Ash, was passed over by two surgeons junior to him in the list. We are informed that Dr. Ash is a surgeon who has always had a high reputation during his eleven years’ service in the department, and that he was particularly noticed for his zeal and activity in the Zulu campaign in South Africa. When sent to Egypt, he was attached to one of the bearer companies, but was removed from this service to be placed in medical charge of the 7th Dragoon Guards, who were then suffering from enteric fever to an alarming extent. Dr. Ash still remains with this regiment, and as he has secured the good feeling and gratitude of both the officers and men of the corps, and at the same time has received an expression of approbation for his professional services from the head of his own department in Egypt, his supercession by his juniors has attracted all the more attention. What the explanation of, the occurrence may be, remains to be seen.”
Surgeon Vacy Ash, Army Medical Department, has been specially detailed to enquire into this matter; (the epidemic of enteric fever at the Base Hospital at Abbassayah)and his reports, which are now in the hands of the General Officer Commanding, may lead to a clearing up of this mystery.
July 1883 : His findings on epidemic of the enteric fever are published in the British Medical Journal. He also publish his findings on sea-sickness in the July British Medical Journal
March 11th, 1883 : Returned home to England. Service in Portland, Dorset
April 11th : His Egypt medal was issued to him on that date
September 30th : Appointed surgeon-major
November 11th, 1884 : Married Eliza Maxwell in St-Barnabas Church, Kensington, Middlesex. She was born in 1863, 21 years old the daughter of Thomas Maxwell, a gentleman. Robert gives his occupation as physician. At the time of the marriage Robert and Eliza were living at separate addresses in Warwick Gardens, Kensington
February 18th, 1885 : Service in Bengal and Burma. During that campaign comments made by his superior officer DSS Turner PMO Burma ‘’he was an officer of great ability and zeal, who has done most excellent service. Is highly qualified for the duties he has been called upon to perform’’
November 20th 1886 Excerpt from the British Journal of Medicine “Surgeon-Major R. VACY ASH, M.D., has been ordered to Mandalay for service in Upper Burmah. He is appointed Assistant Medical Officer and Sanitary Officer to the Barmah Field Force, and will also take medical charge of the Headquarters Etaff.”
1887 : Served in the Burmanese expedition
September 2nd: Mentioned in dispatches London Gazette
1888 : Service in Brighton until 1891
January 4th, 1889 : Birth of his second child Roland Colin Vacy Ash, born February at 38 Stanford Avenue, Brighton, Sussex.- died September) from the British Medical Journal of the 12th Jan 1889. As Robert was stationed in India and Robert and Eliza’s second child was born in England, Eliza must have been with Robert in India and returned to England to give birth to their child.
28th April : He returned home to England and from that date until the 17th Nov 1891 he is listed as being sick. The death of his child and marital difficulties which resulted in divorce may go some way to explain why Robert was listed as sick.
1891 census United Kingdom census taken in Hove Sussex county Wife: Eliza born 1865 in Spratton South Africa,
Son: William Maxwell Vacy born July 6th, 1885 in Ayra Burgal, India
July : His wife petitioned for her divorce. She accused him of adultery and verbal abuse. He was found not guilty of those charges.
September 30th : Appointed lieutenant-colonel (brigade surgeon) .(from the British British Medical Journal October 17th, 1891), … who shortly retires from the service, was entertained at a farewell dinner at the Hotel Metropole on October 12th by the officers of the Medical Staff serving at Brighton
November 18th : Retiring from service
August 9th, 1898 : Lieutenant colonel under London Gazette notification
September 25th 1899 : Transfer of mortgage of Leworthy Robert Vacy Ash of Fleetwood, co. Lancs, surgeon lieut. col. (retired) and Arthur John Kingdon of 30 Milk Street, Cheapside, London, gent. (co-executors of Ann Fry) To Francis John Oliver of 44 Cleveland Road, Stanford Avenue, Brighton, gent.
His medical registration with the General Medical Council for the UK for 1899 states he was living at 10 The Esplanade, Fleetwood, Lancashire
March 31st, 1901 (census) : He was a surgeon physician at his own account living at 10 Esplanade, Fleetwod. He was living with his cousin Thomas Hyler (physician). They had two domestic servant, Sarah Foster and Margaret Connelly. His son William was a student at Magdalen College
– His wife was visiting Mary Hooley (probably her sister) at 69th Belmont road, Portswood.
July 1901 : He petitioned for his divorce accusing his wife of adultery. She was found guilty and condemned to pay him a sum of money 1750
Picture of Dr Ash (1901)
March 1902 (first semester) : Married for the 2nd time in St George Hanover Square with Florence May Bratt.
September 18th, 1903 : Died suddenly at Morecambe, Lancashire. He was still employed on the retired List at Fleetwood.
September 21st, 1910 : His second wife remarried to a William Bottomley at St John’s Church Hartford, Cheshire, United Kingdom.
If you know more information on this gentleman, please leave me message so I can add it to his small biography.
Thanks to Dianne Bartlam who gave me information on Dr Ash. She can be reached at Solent Genealogy