(L to R) British War Medal; Allied Victory Medal
We don't know anything about Ernest's early life or family.
The First World War broke out in August 1914 and Ernest joined the 8th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment in around April or May 1917. This was originally a unit in the Territorial Force, but the soldiers joining it now were conscripts. Under conscription it was not unusual for soldiers to be assigned to units with no connection to their local area.
Soldiers serving with units of the Territorial Force were given new service numbers in around March 1917. The 8th Battalion was allocated the range 300001 to 350000 and Ernest was given 303678. We don't know if he had an earlier number.
We don't believe Ernest left the UK before the new service numbers were allocated. The 8th Battalion had formed 2 separate units, the 1/8th and the 2/8th Battalions. Both were in France by March 1917, but as we don't know which one he joined we can't say for certain where Ernest served.
At some point during his service Ernest was transferred to the 10th (County of London) Battalion of the London Regiment (Hackney). He was given the service number 425367, which suggests this happened in the autumn of 1917. Again, there was a 1/10th and a 2/10th Battalion, and we don't know which Ernest joined. The 1/10th served in Egypt and Palestine, and the 2/10th fought on the Western Front for the rest of the First World War.
Ernest survived the war, but the rest of his life is a mystery. We know he had at least one child; a daughter called Doreen. His medals were donated to the Museum of the Manchester Regiment in March 1992.