Ernest was born in Brentwood, Essex on 14 March 1883. His parents were William, a coachman and Maria. He had a brother, William b1882 and a sister, Elizabeth b1886.
On 24 October 1900, Ernest enlisted into the Household Cavalry, service number 2295. He was 6’ tall, weighed 159 lbs and had blue eyes and brown hair. By this time, his parents and siblings were living in Spruce’s Cottages, Moore and his father was recorded as being an invalid and unemployed coach driver.
Ernest was discharged at his own request on 27 May 1904 on payment of £18. He then joined the Liverpool City Police, with whom he served for 2 years.
In 1904, he married Lucy Grace Hughes from Rotherham.
Ernest emigrated to the USA, where he worked in New York. No record can be found of Lucy travelling with him. On one occasion, his ‘super human exertions’ enabled him to save the lives of several of his fellow workmen, when they became trapped whilst sinking caissons into New York harbour. He must have joined the police, as one ex-mayor of Cleveland said that he was the best traffic cop in America. The 1910 US census records him as living in Brooklyn and being employed as a general worker on a bridge. Interestingly, it also records him as being single.
Ernest moved to Canada, where he served with the Vancouver Constabulary. He was mentioned several times for meritorious conduct and considered by his superiors to be ‘diligent, capable and reliable’. An extract from The Daily Province, a Vancouver newspaper, said ‘He was of giant proportions and had a way with him that meant business when the traffic was coming in a particularly heavy stream’.
In 1912, there is a record of Mrs Lucy G Scarlett sailing to Montreal aboard the Tunisia, with a 7 year old son named Ernest Henry. He had been born on 12 April 1905 in West Derby, Liverpool. The records also show that a daughter was born in the UK about 1909, but no record has been found of her travelling to Canada.
Two further children were born whilst Ernest and Lucy were in Vancouver – Charles Edward in 1914 and Mary Josephine in 1915.
Ernest enlisted into the Canadian Infantry on 1 February 1916, service number 645656. He was involved in the battle for Hill 70, at Loos on 15 August 1917, when he was shot in the stomach and died. He is commemorated on the Vimy memorial.
The Vancouver Daily World of 19 December 1917, reports that a grant of 800 dollars was made to his widow, who was by then ill and had four children. They were living at 539 7th Avenue, West Vancouver, British Columbia. At the time of the 1921 census, Lucy and her children were living at 577, 8th Avenue, West Vancouver.
Lucy died on 22 April 1932, aged 55 years. She is buried in Mountain West Cemetery, Vancouver.
Ernest and Lucy’s eldest son, Ernest Henry, became a school teacher. He married Eva Sophia Beatrice Nesbitt on 14 June 1928 in Vancouver. Ernest died on 24 January 2003, six years after his wife.
Charles Edward decided to run away from home in 1928 and was caught trying to cross the US border on 27 July, en route to Seattle. He’d paid the passage himself and had $30 in his pocket, but was sent back home.
Nothing more is known of the family.