Albert is one of the oldest men commemorated on Stockport's War Memorials but he had strong family military connections and, perhaps, a blind eye was turned to his age when he went to enlist. His father had been a member of the 4th Volunteer Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment. This was the forerunner of the Territorial Army formations established in 1908 and Ernest also became a member. His brother, Harry, had died of wounds he had received in the Boer War.
When the Census was taken in 1901, Albert, his wife Elizabeth and their son, Thomas, were living at 11 Gee Street, Edgeley. He worked in the local hatting industry as a blocker for Howlinson, Andrews and Ferguson Ltd at the Company's works on Lancashire Hill.
By the time of the Great War, Albert had moved to Bradford, Yorkshire. Elizabeth is known to have died around this time and he may have felt like a "fresh start" to life. Thomas Whatmough would also serve during the War with the Army Cyclists Corps, originally attached to the Welsh Division. He is believed to have survived.
On 7 October 1916, Albert and his mates transferred from the sector of the Western Front around the French village of Hulloch and came to the heart of the Somme battlefield. On the 8th, they took over trenches near the village of Serre from the 17th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers. They suffered casualties every day during this tour of duty, caused by heavy enemy artillery shelling and trench mortar fire. The Battalion's War Diary entry for the 12th, notes that the unit's HQ was heavily shelled and three men were killed and another five wounded. Albert was one of the three. It is probable that, if he took a direct hit from a shell, there was little of him left to bury and this accounts for the fact that he has no known grave.