Ernest George HAYWARD
Rank: Private
Number: 12326
Unit: 9th Battalion CHESHIRE REGIMENT
Date of Death: 16 November 1916
Age: 23
Cemetery: Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France

Ernest was born in the parish of St Matthews C of E Church, Stockport and lived with his parents at 35 Adelaide Road, Edgeley. He was employed in the leather works of Dean & Co, Prince's Street and, in his spare time, was a member of the Stockport Sunday School Brotherhood.

His service number confirms that he enlisted in August or September 1914 and, after training, went overseas with the newly formed 9th Battalion in July 1915. By 1916, Ernest was reported to be part of the Battalion's Machine Gun Section. The light Lewis guns were operated by two man teams - one to fire the gun, the other load the magazines and each Battalion had several guns. The guns were most usually used against attacking enemy infantry.

On 16 November, the Battalion had been on a tour of duty in the front line for several days. This was near the village of Aveluy in the heart of the Somme battlefield. On a day when Ernest was one of 14 members of his unit to be killed, the Battalion's War Diary makes no reference to casualties recording only "The enemy continued to shell our trenches". Two other local men, James Crone and Samuel Booth, were amongst the 14. None of the three has a known grave.

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