Date of birth: 1883
Date of death: 30.9.1916
Regiment: York and Lancaster
Family information: Husband of Annie nee Cluley
Service number: 21004
Ernest enlisted at Pontefract in November 1914 aged 31 years and 3 months, initially joining the Yorkshire Light Infantry as Private 19904, but later joined the York and Lancaster Regiment 6th (Service) Battalion as Private 21004. His occupation was given as a miner, his address was still in St John’s Square and he was recorded as being 5 feet five and a half inches. He was stationed in Harrogate on 22nd May 1915 when he was absent from the tattoo until 5.30pmon 23rd May – a total of 19 hours 30 minutes – for which he had to forfeit 2 days’ pay and was confined to barracks for 7 days.
Ernest left these shores on 19th September 1915 heading for the Mediterranean where he was admitted to hospital in Mudros, a small Greek port on the island of Lemnos, suffering from jaundice. He re-joined his battalion on 29th January 1916 and they arrived in Egypt on 3rd February. Four months later they returned to Europe arriving in France on 17th June to reinforce the Third Army on the Somme. By 27th July they were on the front line and according to the longlongtrail.co.uk took part in The Capture of the Wundt-Werk, The Battle of Flers-Courcelette and the Battle of Thiepval.
On the 29th September the battalion were in trenches at Mouquet Farm. Orders were received to attack Hessian Trench which commenced at 11.59am. On the whole the attack was successful although one company – D Company – lost direction and only 30 men had returned. The attack lasted all day and into the next day by which time Hessian Trench had been taken and consolidated. At 4.15pm on 1st October the battalion was relieved with their objectives having been met.
With reference to the operations between 26th – 30th September the Corps Commander said that the men had “shown what good leaders and fighters they are. Their powers of endurance have been splendid and the way they have “stuck it out” under the heaviest of bombardments and the worst of weather conditions, shows how well they have been trained and commanded”. (War Diary 7th October 1916)
Ernest was killed on 30th September 1916 and was buried in the Stump Road Cemetery, Grandcourt. His effects were left to his widow Annie who in 1917 – at the time of the issue of the death plaque – was living at 9, Whitworth Street, Goldthorpe, Rotherham. She was awarded a pension for herself and her three children of 26/3d per week. In 1921 Annie was living in Barnsley and was now Mrs Sellers.
Ernest was awarded the British War Medal, the Victory Medal and the 1915 Star and is also remembered on the Ryhill and Havercroft War Memorial.
Ernest was born in Wrenthorpe on 1883 to Thomas, a miner and his wife Annie. He was baptised at St Anne’s on 10th February 1884, with his brother Sam being baptised there in November of the same year and his sister Lily baptised on Christmas Day 1886.
By 1891 the family had moved to 3, Wood Huts Ryhill and had the addition of Joe who had been born in Ryhill in 1889. Father Tom was still a coal miner and was said to have been born in Wrenthorpe whilst Ernest’s mother Annie had been born in Wakefield.
The family had moved again by the 1901 census and were living at Buck Row Ryhill with two more children Eliza A. aged 8 and Norris (although recorded as “Morris” in the census) aged 6, the latter having been born in Outwood.
Ernest married Annie Cluley at Ryhill Parish Church on 20th May 1905. Ernest was 21 and working as a miner and Annie was 18. Two years later they were blessed with a son whom they called Ernest and who, according to the 1911 census, had been born in Rotherham. From the same census we can see they had moved to St John’s Square Ryhill and had last a baby (Albert), but on 23rd March 1910 Joe was born in Ryhill, shortly followed by Henry on 23rd August 1912.