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Charles Allan Ashley, educator, soldier, and accountant, was born on 21 December 1894 in Willenhall, England, and died on 10 July 1974 at Innsbruck, Austria. He was the son of Samuel Joseph Ashley, a schoolmaster, and Elizabeth Cumming Ashley. He began school in Birmingham and in 1912 articled as a chartered accountant. In 1914 he enlisted in the 2nd Birmingham City Battalion of the Warwickshire Regiment and then transferred to the Royal Engineers, Special Company 189, in July 1915. He saw action at Bethune, Philosophe, Vimy Ridge, and the 3rd Battle of Ypres. He became acting company commander, was mentioned in dispatches, and was wounded. After the war he attended the University of Birmingham, obtaining a B.Comm. in 1921, and he was admitted as a chartered accountant in 1922.
He was assistant professor of commerce at Queen‟s University, Kingston, Ontario, for one year and an accountant in Paris, France, before accepting a post at Shanghai in 1924. He returned to Birmingham in 1927, and in 1930 he became assistant professor of commerce at the University of Toronto; he retired in 1962 as professor of commerce and chairman of the Department of Political Economy. Ashley resided in Trinity College, where he participated actively in its affairs and served as an adviser to students for forty-three years until his death in 1974.