Death of Ernest Enright, one of The Alberts dead
Ernest’s story reveals something of the reality for many men who rushed to join the army in 1914.
Ernest was the son of a widow who took in laundry to support her family. In 1911, aged 16, Ernest was out of work, as was his 17 year-old sister Nelley. As well as adventure and the chance for glory, the army offered a decent uniform and three hot meals a day. For many, it was as much a sense of duty as poverty that caused them to volunteer, as the years before the start of the war were hard.
Researching Ernest’s story also highlighted some of the problems with memorials research, including the fact that names were usually nominated by surviving family and could be given as nicknames or family names. Although his mother had remarried and was called Enright, Ernest’s official name was Ernest Edward Gordon.
Once found, Ernest’s records revealed he was a Private, 1st Battalion (The Queen’s) Royal West Surrey Regiment. He died on 23 April 1917 near Arras.