Private 71748, 135th Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corp.

Killed in action 24th November 1917 aged 25.

Buried at Orival Wood Cemetery, France.

Student of Arts.


Ernest was born in Newcastle in 1892, the son of William, a Newcastle Councillor, and Sarah Shortt Robson. He was educated at Newcastle Grammar School and Rydal Mount College, Colwyn Bay, and was aiming to become a Methodist minister. With this in mind he entered Manchester University in 1913 studying Arts. As Private 71748 he enlisted on 28th October 1915 alongside 23 other students from Hartley College into the Royal Army Medical Corps all joining the 135th Field Ambulance R.A.M.C, and serving with the unit on the Western Front from June 1916. The unit was one of those involved in the Battle of Cambrai and Ernest was killed in action while acting as a stretcher bearer. Hit by shrapnel alongside his old colleges friends Percy Shaw & Walter Burkitt he told medics to treat Shaw first then died. He was 25 years old. Shaw survived. Percy wrote of Ernest “He was the truest, noblest man I have ever known. My life will be nobler because of my contact with him”

His headstone is inscribed ‘Seeking to save, he died’.

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