Ernest's inscription on the Stockport War Memorial is amongst the names of those who died whilst serving with the Cheshire Regiment. He was a pre-War member of the Regiment's 6th (Territorial) Battalion - the local Stockport Battalion. His service number was 1716 and this appears on his medal entitlement records at the National Archives, confirming he saw active service abroad with the Regiment. The 6th Cheshires went overseas within weeks of War being declared in August 1914 and Ernest was almost certainly amongst them.
However, certainly by mid-1916, he had been transferred to the Lincolnshire Regiment. This was probably after a lengthy period away from his unit recovering from wounds or an illness. When he was fit enough to return to duty, the Army will have decided that the Lincolns were in greater need of replacements.
The 10th Battalion was commonly known as the "Grimsby Pals", formed almost exclusively from men from the town. They attacked on the first day of the Battle of the Somme (1 July 1916) and suffered very many casualties. Ernest possibly joined a few days after this as one of the replacements. Some time over the next few weeks, he undertook an act of bravery for which he was awarded the Military Medal. The official notification of the award was published in the London Gazette in its edition of 19 December, but no details of his heroism have been discovered.
Ernest is buried adjacent to the tented field hospital at Tincourt where he died. Regimental records published after the War mote that he "died". This is a designation usually indicating a death from natural causes or an accident totally unconnected with combat, rather than "died of wounds" which would indicate he had been injured in the trenches. Nothing further is known.
Almost nothing is known of his personal life, other than he had been born in Knutsford. After the War, his parents, James and Mary, were living at 17 Vaughan Road, Heaton Norris.