Military Monday – Ernest Aldersley (1899 – 1918)

Ernest Aldersley is my 3rd cousin 1x removed.  Our common ancestors are my 3x great grandparents John Dinsdale and Esther Mason.

Ernest was born in Bradford in 1899 and is the only child of Jeremiah Aldersley and Rose Jowett.

As far as I have been able to establish Ernest enlisted in Keighley, West Yorkshire.  He was a private in the Machine Gun Corps and his service number was 154978.  Here is a link to some history of the units of The Machine Gun Corps of 1914-1918.  Ernest was killed in action on 2 September 1918 – although some pages on the Internet suggest that it might have been 3 September 1918.  His death was reported in the Craven Herald newspaper on 20 September 1918 as follows.


The sad news has reached Mr. and Mrs. J. Aldersley, West Street, that their only son, Ernest, was killed by a shell while in action on the 3rd inst. Authentic news through the War Office is not yet to hand, but his pal, Private Charles Goddard, sends the information to his parents in a very sympathetic communication. It appears they were fast friends, having been companions for some time. It was young Aldersley’s first baptism of fire, and on his nineteenth birthday. A well-built strapping young fellow, he was, prior to enlisting, a Canal Office clerk and clerk at Delaney’s Gargrave quarries. The deep sympathy of the whole parish goes out to his bereaved relatives. At the Parish Church the Dead March was played in his honour on Sunday night after very feeling references to the event by the Vicar at the close of his sermon.

Ernest is commemorated on the Gargrave War Memorial and his grave is at the Vaulx Hill Cemetery in the Pas de Calais, France.

Gargrave War Memorial

Vaulx-Vraucourt village was taken in the spring of 1917, lost (after severe fighting) in March 1918, and retaken in the following September. Vaulx Hill Cemetery started with just 17 graves of September 1918 (in Plot I, Rows A and B). The rest of the cemetery was formed after the Armistice when graves were brought in from the battlefields in the immediate neighbourhood and the following smaller cemeteries:-

• Chafours Wood Cemetery, Morchies, which contained 17 Australian and five United     Kingdom graves of 1917.

• Lagnicourt Australian Cemetery, which contained seven Australian graves of 1917 and 27 United Kingdom of September 1918.

• New Zealand Cemetery No.17, Favreuil, where 22 of the 2nd New Zealand Rifles Brigade were buried in August 1918.

• Sunken Road Cemetery, Beaumetz-Les-Cambrai, which contained 23 Australian and five United Kingdom graves of May 1917.

• Vraucourt Churchyard Extension, which was across the road from the Church and contained 185 United Kingdom and seven Australian graves of 1917 and 1918 (a German Extension was also removed).

The cemetery now contains 856 Commonwealth burials and commemorations of the First World War. 258 of the burials are unidentified but special memorials commemorate 29 casualties known or believed to be buried among them, and four others buried in other cemeteries whose graves were destroyed by shell fire.

Vaulx Hill Cemetery - Commonwealth War Graves Commission



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