(L to R) 1914-15 Star; British War Medal; Allied Victory Medal
We don't know anything about Ernest's early life or family.
When the First World War broke out in August 1914 Ernest lived in or around Ashton-under-Lyne in Lancashire. On the 8th January 1915 he joined the Army, enlisting in the 9th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment. This was a unit of the Territorial Force based in Ashton. He was given the service number 3311.
The 9th Battalion had been sent to Egypt on the 10th September 1914. New recruits like Ernest were formed into a 'second line' for the battalion that could be used to replace casualties. We don't know anything about Ernest's training.
The 9th Battalion took part in the invasion of Gallipoli and landed on the 6th May 1915. They were involved in a great deal of hard fighting over the next few months, and took many casualties. Ernest and other soldiers were sent to help bring them up to strength. He arrived in Gallipoli on the 30th September.
We don't know much about Ernest's time in Gallipoli. The 9th Battalion was evacuated to Egypt on the 28th December. Until then the soldiers endured hard fighting, disease and rain that soon became snow blizzards. Many soldiers were taken ill because of this bad weather. We don't know whether Ernest was one of them.
In Egypt the 9th Battalion helped to guard the Suez Canal against a Turkish attack. They spent a lot of time living in the desert building defensive positions. The Canal was threatened by the Turks until August, when British victories forced them to retreat into the Sinai. The 9th Battalion left Egypt in early March 1917 for the Western Front in France.
Ernest did not join his comrades in France. At some point he was returned to the UK. On the 26th December 1916 he was transferred to Class P(T) of the Territorial Force Reserve. This meant that 'his services are deemed to be temporarily of more value to the country in civil life rather than in the Army'. He was technically still a soldier, but could return home to take up civilian work. This suggests Ernest may have been a skilled worker of some sort before he joined the Army.
We don't know whether Ernest had been wounded or taken ill before he was discharged. We also don't know what civilian work he did for the rest of the war. Members of the Class P(T) Reserve were discharged in December 1918, after the end of the war.
The rest of Ernest's life is a mystery. His medals were donated to the Museum of the Manchester Regiment in April 1991.