Rank: Private
Number: 204376
Unit: 418th Agricultural Company LABOUR CORPS
Date of Death: 29 November 1918
Age: 34
Cemetery: Willow Grove Cemetery, Stockport

Ernest was the second child (and eldest son) of George and Mary Wilkinson. When the 1901 Census as taken, the family was living in the Lancashire Hill area of Stockport. Ernest, then 17, was working as a carter for a cotton mill.

He later married Ellen and it is probable that they lived at 1 Tatton Street, where Ellen was known to be living in the early 1920s. When Ernest enlisted into the army, he was assigned to the local 6th (Territorial) Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment and is known to have gone abroad on active service with the Regiment. His medal entitlement records at the national Archives show he was later transferred to the Labour Corps and this was, almost certainly, whilst he was overseas.

The Corps was formed in 1917 and comprised mainly men whose health or physical condition meant they were not suitable for the rigours of fighting in the trenches. They could, however, perform very useful manual work in the rear areas. They would undertake tasks such as road building, unloading supplies, grave digging and the like. At some later point, he was transferred back to the UK and assigned to the Agricultural Company. Ernest would have been working on a local farm, releasing a fitter man to fight. His death at home and after the Armistice suggests that he died of natural causes - very possibly as a result of the influenza pandemic which claimed millions of lives worldwide in the autumn of 1918.

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