Reginald John Ashfield was born in
East Moulsey, Surrey, on 21 Mar 1891 to John Lewington Ashfield and Eliza Jeanette Ashfield (née Lewington).
initially became a schoolteacher at Tiffin School, Kingston upon Thames; a keen aeroplane model-maker, he built a glider with
his pupils which they tried at Telegraph Hill, Thames Ditton. As a devotee of Hendon and Brooklands at week-ends, he was commissioned
by C.G. Grey to write a short descriptive article on the Sopwith Hybrid, and at the Sopwith establishment was asked to hand Grey an advertisement for a draughtsman. He immediately decided
to abandon teaching, applied for the job, and got it, becoming Sopwith's first draughtsman.