In 1901, a national census was taken and this recorded the Wright family living at 16 Cain Street, Edgeley. William Wright, then aged 37, worked as a letterpress printer. His wife, Elizabeth, was 35. Ernest was 5 at the time and had an older brother - 13 year old Harold, who was already working in one of the local bleach works. When Ernest left school, he also went into the printing industry, working at the Reddish Printworks.
He volunteered for the army in April 1915. The 6th East Lancashires were in action at Gallipoli from the late summer until January 1916. They were amongst the last to be evacuated from the failed campaign and moved to Port Said, in Egypt. This is probably when Ernest joined his unit, after training.
On 12 February, the Battalion moved to Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq) as part of a force being assembled to relieve the British garrison besieged at Kut-al-Amara. On 16 June, Ernest and his mates were at a rest camp known as "Masons Mounds". The Battalion's War Diary records that at 6.30pm, they moved to Sheik Saad, on the banks of the River Tigris. Overnight the Battalion assembled to provide the advance and rear guards for No. 4 Column, part of the force that would move forward to Kut. Sometime during the night, Ernest must have slipped into the river and drowned.
It is not known if his body was recovered but, if it was, the location of his grave was lost during the course of the war and he is now remembered on the Memorial to the Missing from the Mesopotamia campaign at Basra.
In the early 1920s, when the War Graves Commission was compiling its casualty information, William Wright had died and Elizabeth was living at 9 Pump Court, Chatham Street, Stockport.