Ashall, William James

Staff-Sergeant Ashall 1896 wearing some of his shooting awards (QOR Museum photo)

Staff-Sergeant William James Ashall was born 31 March, 1852 in Manchester, England to William J Ashall and Mary Ann (Lamb) Ashall. The family emigrated to Toronto, Canada in 1854 and William joined 6 Company of the Queen’s Own in 1868 as a Bandsman. He was transferred to 3 Company and promoted to Corporal in 1874, Sergeant in 1875, Color-Sergeant in 1878 and Staff-Sergeant in 1879, a rank which he holds with various appointments until his retirement in 1901. Ashall was an excellent marksman, earning a position on the Canadian Wimbledon Shooting Team for many years and winning numerous awards.


In his civilian life he was a successful Toronto watchmaker and jeweler and the official city clock-winder.

From Toronto Star– Monday, May 20 1901

CIVIC CLOCK-WINDER

Earns $525 a year–In Charge of Chimes of St. James’–Appointed 1891

Toronto has an official clock-winder, Mr. Wm. Ashall, who was appointed in 1891 at a salary of $400 to look after the timepieces of seven firehalls and one public hall. In 1893 the clock and chimes of St. James’ Cathedral were added to his list; with an increase of $125 in pay. He also takes care of eight or ten small clocks in various departments of City Hall at six cents per week each, earning in this way $27.98, with $14.50 more for repairs to police station and cattle market clocks last year.

In 1873 Ashall married Mary Dupledge Ibbetson with whom he had many children. He passed away on 15 September 1925 and is buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Toronto along with Mary.

Staff-Sergeant Ashall 1879 (photo curtesy Toronto Public Archives)

Timeline of Military Service:

  • 1868 Bandsman 6 Company Paylist;
  • 1871 Private 3 Company Paylist;
  • 1874 Corporal;
  • 1875 Sergeant;
  • 1878 Color-Sergeant;
  • 1879 Staff-Sergeant;
  • 1883 Wimbledon (shooting competitions in italic);
  • 1883 Kolapore Match;
  • 1884 Dominion of Canada Rifle Association Match;
  • 1885 National Rifle Association, Wimbledon;
  • 1885 Wimbledon;
  • 1885 Kolapore Match;
  • 1887 Dominion of Canada Rifle Association, Governor General’s Prize;
  • 1888 Dominion of Canada Rifle Association, Governor General’s Prize;
  • 1888 Wimbledon;
  • 1889 Wimbledon;
  • 1893 Staff-Sgt Paymaster Clerk;
  • 1895 Canadian Military Rifle League;
  • 1899 Canadian Military Rifle League;
  • 1900 Canadian Military Rifle League;
  • 1901 Staff-Sgt Paymaster Sgt;
  • 1902 awarded Colonial Auxiliary Long Service Medal;
  • 1910 attended QOR semi-centenary celebrations.

Staff-Sergeant Ashall, (second from right), and the 1892 QOR Shooting Team (QOR Museum photo)

"In Pace Paratus – In Peace Prepared"

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