Ernest was the only son of Henry and Sarah Jane Grantham . Like his siblings, he had been born in the Pendleton area of Salford but had moved to the Stockport area by 1901 when a national census was taken. The family was then living at 14 Rae Street, moving to 39 Cunliffe Street, Edgeley, by 1917. Nothing is known of his early life but, before he enlisted into the army, he was working for the Joinery Department of local ironfounders, Arundel & Co., Albert Street, Stockport. When he joined up, he was assigned to the Monmouthshire Regiment and went on active service with them after his training.
The three battalions of the Regiment which went overseas were all designated to be Pioneers - that is units where the men had been trained to fight as infantry but whose primary job was in the construction of defences and strongpoint. Ernest's trade skills would have made him an eminently suitable candidate for the Pioneers and it is not known when, or under what circumstances, he was transferred to the Borderers. Perhaps it was simply that there was an urgent need for replacement infantry troops.
Ernest was not killed outright but is recorded as having died of his wounds. He is buried in a Cemetery used by a field hospital at the time. It cannot be known exactly when he was injured. The Batatlion's War Dairy records large numbers of wounded on 20th and 21st of November but it is more likely that his fatal injuries were received the day he died.
At dawn on the 30th, the enemy started to shell the British front line and the men were ordered to "stand to". The German infantry attacked soon afterwards against the positions to the right of the Borderers. By 10am, they had worked their way round the Borderers who now came under attack from both back and front. Meanwhile, British reinforcements were arriving from the reserve areas and these engaged the Germans forcing them back but not completely ejecting them from the British front line areas. A tactical withdrawal was now undertaken by the British and a new front line established some way to the rear.