Ernest had worked as a warp twister but decided to join the Army full time before the outbreak of the First World War. He was attached to the 1st Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment, his unit was sent to France in September 1914 and was involved in what later became known as “the race to the sea” (before the war got bogged down in the trenches). Ernest was killed in action along with 21 other members of his Battalion whilst fighting on the Rue de la Fleur d'Écosse, Capinghem near Lille. Sadly none of their bodies were recovered from the battlefield, Ernest and his comrades are commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial in Belgium.
Ernest became the first man from Pudsey to die whilst fighting on the Western Front.
His father Joseph was distraught at the news of his sons death and despite being 48 years old and a renowned local green grocer, decided to enlist. He gave his age as 39 to the recruiting Sergeant (otherwise he would have only been in the Home Defence). After 4 months training he was sent to France with the 8th Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment. In a terrible double tragedy for the family, he received serious shrapnel injuries to his head on March 9th 1916 and passed away at number 10 Casualty Clearing station, France aged 49. Joseph is buried in Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery.