© Avening Parish Council 2023
“Preserve, Conserve, Enhance”
6 Richard Ayres
Private: 5th Battalion, Gloster Regiment
Richard (Dick) Ayres was the third child of William Ayres (born Sherston 1836) and Martha
née Bowley (born Sapperton c1837). William and Martha had nine children in all, the first four,
Richard included, being born at Frampton Mansell.
Some time before 1871, the family moved to Avening and Richard's five younger siblings were born
and baptised in the village.
Richard was born on Friday the 29th of July 1864 and was a scholar living with his family on the High
Street at the time of the 1871 census. He was still there ten years later but, by then, was working as
a farm labourer.
He married Mary Ann Jones on Sunday the 1st of September 1889 and they had three children over
the next five years. He became a farm carter and moved with his family around the village, Tetbury
Hill in 1891 and Old Hill in 1901.
He joined the Gloster Militia just after he was married and for the next twenty years was a part-time
soldier on the National Reserve. It was because of this military knowledge that he was called up
immediately the war started. However, at fifty years of age he was considered too old for front line
service and so was placed on Home Defence duties. In 1915 he was based at Winchester and on the
night of Friday the 30th of July (the day after his 51st birthday) he was scheduled as part of a guard
party on the railways at Winchester. Whilst waiting to relieve the guard at midnight at St Cross signal
box, he was struck by a passing steam engine and died instantly.
An inquest was held the following day reaching a verdict of "Accidental Death". His body was
conveyed by rail in a special coach to Tetbury station and he received a full military funeral at
Avening Church on Thursday the 5th of August.
He left his wife, then aged 50, a daughter Amelia, by then married, aged 26, and two sons, both on
active service, John aged 24 and Arthur aged 21.
His grave can be seen in the church burial ground.
I am grateful to Mrs Gwynneth Richards, his great granddaughter, for her assistance in this