Ernest Egerton (10th November 1897 to 14th February 1966)

 

When I was nineteen I was still playing with my toys in my bedroom, going for rides on my bike and squeezing spots. When Ernest was nineteen he was a Corporal in The Sherwood Foresters and fighting during the Battle of Passchendaele.

 

On Thursday 20th September 1917 he was southeast of Ypres in Belgium. The troop pushed forward running at the Germans that were hidden in dugouts. Due to layers of fog and smoke many were injured or killed outright. The low visibility gave the Germans the advantage and they were able to pick off British troops. As the British charged forward under spraying bullets they ran passed German dugouts. The fog and smoke meant they couldn’t see things clearly. A request for volunteers was made to help go back and clear the dugouts of Germans and their guns. Ernest volunteered knowing the chances of returning with low. Nevertheless he dashed toward the dugouts and miraculously none of the heavy fire (which was from close range) even grazed him. He shot a rifleman, a bomber and a gunner. Support followed by which time 29 Germans had surrendered.

 

King George V presented a Victoria Cross medal to Ernest at Buckingham Palace on 5th December 1917.

 

The following year he returned to fight again but was badly gassed and sent to a hospital in France. On his return home he married Elsie Gimbert. The gas has affected him terribly though and he went to stay in Sutherland War Hospital suffering from tuberculosis. From her he went to stay in a sanatorium and on 25th April 1919 was discharged from the army forever due to his impaired health. Doctors considered he had less than a year to live.

 

A decade later he was still confounding them all though. He trained as a gamekeeper in the Kent countryside and was a renewed man. He returned home to Blythe Bridge in Staffordshire, working for a company that sold ex-servicemen’s handicrafts but it wasn’t a success. An old headmaster got him a job as a bus conductor. He put his improving health down to being on rural routes and getting out in the countryside.

 

During the Second World War he served in the Home Guard and then went on to work for the Staffordshire Potteries Works as a lodge man. Despite fragile health he lived to 68, dying on 14th February 1966. He was buried with full military honours not far from the church where he wed Elsie.

 

 

Ernest is buried in a graveyard behind this church…

 

Ernest is now in Heaven…up there according to this lass

 

The graves are behind the church and then some new houses…

 

Here he is…with his wife Elsie…

 

 

As usual…touching the VC…