(L to R) British War Medal; Allied Victory Medal
Ernest was born between October and December 1895 in Barton, Manchester. His father was called Arthur and his mother was Elizabeth. He was their eldest child; his younger sister was called Elsie.
In 1901 the family lived at 103 Cyprus Street in Stretford, Manchester. Arthur worked as a cashier to a cotton yarn and cloth merchant. The family had moved to 53 Derbyshire Lane in Stretford by 1911, and Elizabeth's widowed mother Mary Brookes lived with them.
The First World War broke out in August 1914, and Ernest joined the Army on the 28th November 1915. When he enlisted he was 5 feet 8 1/2 inches tall. His family lived at 14 Howard Street in Stretford.
Ernest was assigned to the Manchester Regiment and given the service number 46579. This service number was issued towards the end of 1916, so it would seem that Ernest served in another unit in the UK and then transferred shortly before he went overseas. We don't know which unit this was.
Ernest served in France between the 3rd December 1916 and the 30th April 1917. We don't know which Battalion of the Manchester Regiment he served with, why he returned to the UK, or what he did after then.
The Royal Air Force was created on the 1st April 1918. Originally it was formed by merging the Army's Royal Flying Corps with the Royal Navy's Royal Naval Air Service. We believe Ernest transferred to it directly from the Manchester Regiment. He joined on the 21st May 1918.
Ernest did not leave the UK during his RAF service, but we don't know where he was based or what his job was. The war ended on the 11th November 1918 and he was discharged on the 26th March 1919.
The rest of Ernest's life is a mystery. His medals were donated to the Museum of the Manchester Regiment in 1997.