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Remembrance: Ernest Arthur TROWER (part four)

11 Nov

Ernest Arthur TROWER (small)This handsome looking young man is my 2x great-uncle Ernest Arthur TROWER. He was the son of Ebenezer and Annie TROWER, who was born in Sayers Common, Sussex in 1895. He was baptised in the parish church at Sayers Common on the 13th October 1895. His life was tragically cut short when he was killed in action in France on the 23rd September 1917, aged 22 years old.

To my knowledge there are three memorials that record the name of Ernest Arthur TROWER and the sacrifice he made. Two of these I have not seen in person and one I have visited and photographed several times.

The first and most obvious is the memorial that I have already mentioned at Tyne Cot Cemetery in Belgium. Maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Ernest is listed among the thousands of men with no known grave. It is my goal to visit Tyne Cot in the next couple of years and pay my respects, maybe even next year.

Secondly there is the war memorial inside Sayers Common parish church. I have not yet seen the memorial, but according to the Roll of Honour website it is a wooden plaque inside the church with the names of six men who died in the First World War and seven who died in the Second World War.

Interestingly of the six men who died in the First World War who are commemorated there, I have connections to at least two of them, and probably a third. As well as Ernest there is also William James GASSON another 2x great uncle, and Albert Edward SEYMOUR would probably have been the brother-in-law of my 2x great aunt Edith Ellen TROWER had he still been alive in 1923 when Edith married.

The third memorial is also in Sayers Common, Ernest is remembered on the gravestone of his sister Mabel Annie TROWER, who is buried in Sayers Common churchyard. I have previously featured this photo as a Tombstone Tuesday post.

The gravestone of Mabel Annie TROWER and Ernest Arthur TROWER

The gravestone of Mabel Annie TROWER and Ernest Arthur TROWER

There is of course a fourth place where he is remembered, and that is in my family history. So long as my research survives the memory of Ernest Arthur TROWER and his sacrifice will also survive. Hopefully now that these four posts are out on the internet the life of Ernest will never be forgotten.

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Remembrance: Ernest Arthur TROWER (part two)

9 Nov

Ernest Arthur TROWER (small)This handsome looking young man is my 2x great-uncle Ernest Arthur TROWER. He was the son of Ebenezer and Annie TROWER, who was born in Sayers Common, Sussex in 1895. He was baptised in the parish church at Sayers Common on the 13th October 1895. His life was tragically cut short when he was killed in action in France on the 23rd September 1917, aged 22 years old.

I have been able to find out precious little about Ernest’s military service. A couple of years before the British Army service records started to appear on Ancestry.co.uk I had already been up to the National Archives at Kew and searched the microfilms for Ernest, but had found nothing.

At the National Archives I was able to get a copy of his medal index card, which would later also turn up on Ancestry.co.uk, but that told me nothing more than I already knew from the inscription on the edge of his medals.

What little information I have comes from two sources, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) Debt of Honour Register, and Soldiers Died in the Great War which at that time was only available online at Military-Genealogy.com but now it is also available on Ancestry.co.uk and findmypast.com.

These two sources confirmed that this man was my 2x great-uncle, but only gave me a few other details about his military service. He was a member of the 12th Battalion of the Durham Light Infantry upon his death, but he had previously been in the Army Cyclist Corps (with the regimental number of 10572). He had enlisted at Hove, Sussex and had given Sayers Common, Sussex as his residence, so he was probably still living at home with his parents.

It confirmed that the date he died was the 23rd September 1917, and the place was “France and Flanders”. The CWGC site also told me he was commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing, at Tyne Cot Cemetery near the town of Ypres in Belgium. Ernest is one of the thousands of men who have no known grave.

At the National Archives I was able to consult the war diaries of 12th Battalion Durham Light Infantry (WO 95/2182), and have since download a copy via their DocumentsOnline service. This sadly tells me very little about what happened on the 23rd September 1917. Between the 20th and 24th September the battalion was involved in an attack but the report of this attack fails to make any mention of the number of casualties.

It seems unlikely that I will ever find out what happened to Ernest, the best I can hope for is to learn more about the actions of the 12th Battalion from other sources and learn what took place, but I will be very lucky to find out anything on an individual level that is going to help me learn more about Ernest’s service.

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