The Lynsted with Kingsdown Society has translated despatches from the London Gazette.
Of particular interest is the despatch from Major-General Paris on the defence of Antwerp, drawn from the London Gazette (8th December), No. 29000/Page 10437. This is the despatch that lists Chief Petty Officer Payne, DCo.
The full text is at http://www.lynsted-society.co.uk/Projects/WW1/Despatch_1914_11_02_-_Antwerp.html and makes interesting reading. I have reproduced some excerpts below, which corroborate Ashley's version of events (the highlighting is mine).
Ashley and Payne were in the 2nd Naval Brigade.
31st October, 1914.
Regarding the operations round Antwerp from 3rd to 9th October, I have the honour to report as follows:-
The Brigade (2,200 all ranks) reached Antwerp during the night 3rd-4th October, and early on the 4th occupied, with the 7th Belgian Regiment, the trenches facing Lierre, with advanced post on the River Nethe, relieving some exhausted Belgian troops. The outer forts on this front had already fallen and bombardment of the trenches was in progress.
￼. . .
￼The two Naval Brigades reached Antwerp during the night., 5th-6th October.
. . .
The bombardment of the town, forts and trenches began at midnight, 7th-8th October, and continued with increasing intensity until the evacuation of the fortress.
As the water supply had been cut, no attempt could be made to subdue the flames, and soon 100 houses were burning. Fortunately, there was no wind, or the whole town and bridges must have been destroyed.
During the day (8th October) it appeared evident that the Belgian Army could not hold the forts any longer. About 5.20 p.m. I considered that if the Naval Division was to avoid disaster an immediate retirement under cover of darkness was necessary. General De Guise, the Belgian Commander, was in complete agreement. He was most chivalrous and gallant, insisting on giving orders that the roads and bridges were to be cleared for the passage of the British troops. The retirement began about 7.30 p.m., and was carried out under very difficult conditions.
The enemy were reported in force (a Division plus a Reserve Brigade) on our immediate line of retreat, rendering necessary a detour of 15 miles to the north.
All the roads were crowded with Belgian. troops, refugees, herds of cattle, and all kinds. of vehicles, making inter-communication a practical impossibility. Partly for these reasons, partly on account of fatigue, and partly from at present unexplained causes large numbers of the 1st Naval Brigade became detached, and I regret to say are either prisoners or interned in Holland.
Marching all night (8th to 9th October), one battalion of 1st Brigade, the 2nd Brigade and Royal Marine Brigade, less one battalion, entrained at St. Gillies Waes and effected their retreat without further incident.
. . .
Chief Petty Officer B. H. Ellis, No. 748,. B Co., R.N.V.R., Landon.
Chief Petty Officer Payne, D Co.
Petty Officer (Acting) W. Wallace, O.N., Dev., 211,130.
Stoker Petty Officer W. S. Cole, O.N., Ch. 100,113.
Leading Seaman (Acting) H. D. Lowe, R.N.R., Dev., No. B.2542.
Ordinary Seaman G. Ripley, new Army recruit, C Co. (now R.N.V.R.).
Ordinary Seaman T. Machen, new Army recruit, C Co. (now R.N.V.R.).
. . .
I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your obedient Servant,
A. PARIS, Major-General,
General Officer Commanding-in-Chief.