Ernest LOMAS
Rank: Private
Number: 9568
Date of Death: 15 July 1918
Age: 30
Cemetery: Cologne Southern Cemetery, Germany

Ernest had been born in Cheadle Heath, the son of Matthew and Emily.  When he enlisted into the army in November 1914, he was married to Jesse and they are thought to have been living at 137 Lowfield Road, Stockport.

He was an original member of the newly formed 10th Battalion and will have been with it when it went overseas in the summer of 1915.

On 6 February 1916, Ernest and his mates went into the front line at a position known as The Bluff. This raised area of ground had been created from spoil dumped when the Ypres-Comines Canal was dug. In the flat land of Flanders, it was an important sector of the front line, giving good observation over the low-lying areas around. The next few days were uneventful, except for some intermittent enemy shelling.

The Regimental History recounts that at about 3.30om, on the 14th, there was a heavy enemy bombardment which completely flattened the parapet of the front line trench.

"Between 5.30 and 6.00pm, several explosions were heard and felt at Battalion HQ which proved to be the blowing of several mines. One of these was at The Bluff where (2nd Lieutenant) Walker had put his platoon, except himself and the sentries, in the tunnel for protection during the bombardment. The explosion blew in part of the tunnel and the majority of the platoon were imprisoned and afterwards captured by the Germans. Walker, himself, and the sentries were killed and consequently the enemy was able to walk into New Year Trench without opposition and without anyone knowing anything was amiss."

The Germans had captured about 600 yards of the front line after fierce hand-to-hand fighting. A British counter-attack failed as the Germans had quickly re-enforced their attacking party and the British had to withdraw, leaving Ernest and his mates trapped in the tunnel.

He would spend nearly two and half years as a prisoner of war and died of natural causes whilst reportedly at Weidenen (possibly Weidner), Westphalia. He will have been buried locally but, after the War, the remains of all PoWs who had died in Hanover, Hesse and Westphalia were re-interred at Cologne.

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