Ashley was born on April 26, 1927, in Northampton, England. He would eventually become a movie and TV actor.
Ashley's career on TV and cinema began in the mid 1950s: He appeared as a main character on the series Dixon of Dock Green from 1958 to 1961, and in crime and horror movies such as R.G. Springsteen's Track the Man Down (1955), Montgomery Tully's Man Accused (1959) and Ernest Morris' The Tell-Tale Heart (1960).
During the 1960s, Ashley only appeared as a guest star in different TV series, including The Avengers. He is known to sci-fi fans for appearing in Doctor Who in the story The Underwater Menace (1967). He also starred on a TV series, Crossroads (not to be confused with the movie of the same name).
The 1970s were more prolific for Ashley, as he acted in seven movies from 1970 to 1975, besides making a guest appearance in a TV series. One of these movies was detective adventure Big Zapper (1973), directed by Lindsay Shonteff, where Ashley acted alongside William Hootkins.
Ashley's career continued mainly with movies during the late seventies: Stanley A. Long's Adventures of a Taxi Driver (1976), Donovan Winter's The Deadly Females (1976) or Ian Merrick's The Black Panther (1977).
Ashley was then selected to act as one of the Rebel pilots in Star Wars (1977). Ashley's character would be Gold Five, who was called "Pops." His character got the attention of fans. The Expanded Universe provided a more detailed background for Pops, giving him a full name, Davish Krail.
After his work on Star Wars, Ashley tried to continue his career with small roles in movies such as Stanley A. Long's Adventures of a Plumber's Mate (1978).
He was then selected to play one of the main roles of the then-beginning TV series Grange Hill, which is still on-air now. However, Ashley died in his native England on October 30, 1979, before his filmed part on the series could be aired.