ERNEST PEARSE

  In the uniform of a bandsman.

 

Born: 1884, Ipswich.

Died on or since: 3rd October 1915; age 31; KiA. the battle of Loos

Enlistment Location: Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk.

Date of Entry Therein: 22nd June 1915 – France.

Rank: Lance Corporal; Service Number: 6073

Regiment: Suffolk Regiment, 1st Battalion.

 

Medals Awarded: Victory, British War & 1915 Star.

 

Grave Reference:

Panel 37 & 38.

Loos Memorial,

Pas de Calais,

France.

 

Relatives Notified & Address: Son of Jane Pearse, of ‘Etheldene’ Wherstead Road, Ipswich.

 

CENSUS

 

1891   29, Austin Street, Ipswich.

 

Ernest was 7 years old and living with his parents, siblings & paternal grandmother.

Alfred James Pearse, 36, an Engine Fitter, born Ipswich.

Jane Pearse (nee Campion), 37, born New England, Staffordshire.

Eliza Pearse, 14, born Ipswich.

Alfred James Pearse, 9, born Ipswich.

Robert Pearse, born Ipswich.

Mary Ann Pearse, 2, born Ipswich.

Maria Pearse, 2, born Ipswich.

Maria Pearse, 56, a widow, born Thornham, Suffolk.

 

1901   29, Austin Street, Ipswich.

 

Ernest was 17 years old, a Cigar Maker. He was living with his parents & siblings.

Alfred, 45, a Fitter.

Jane, 46.

Eliza, 24.

Alfred, 19, a Fitter.

Robert, 12.

Albert Thomas Pearse, 9, born Ipswich.

1 boarder.

 

1911   5, Tanners Street, Ipswich.

 

Ernest was 27 years old, a General Labourer – Furniture Removers. He was living with his parents & brother.

Alfred, 55, an Iron Fitter – Engineers.

Jane, 57.

Albert, 19, a Labourer Loco Depot – G.E.R.

 

Ernest’s father Alfred James Pearse died 1914, Ipswich.

additional information by Graham Jones:

L/Cpl 6073, 1st Suffolks, born Plymouth, enlisted Bury St Edmunds, killed in action 3 October 1915 age 31 no known grave. Son of Jane Pearse, of “Etheldene”, Wherstead Rd., Ipswich. Commemorated on the Loos Memorial, Pas de Calais, France.

Arriving at Noyelles-les-Vermelles in the Loos battle area on 27 September 1915, the main attack was over, and on the following day the Battalion marched to Sailly-Labourse where it was engaged in continuous fighting from 29 September until the 3 October, in the area of the infamous Hohenzollern Redoubt. At 2.00am on 3 October, B and C Companies attacked with A Company in reserve. Due to a very congested rambling network of support trenches, D Company did not arrive in time to start the attack. In total darkness and without artillery support, the three Companies groped their way to the objective which, due to lack of guiding markers, was missed. About 160 casualties were suffered.

 

The Battle of Loos took place, between 25th September –15th October 1915. The battle was to take the pressure of a French attack at Artois, which was the main rail network for the Germans between Douai and Noyon. The battle line along a 20 mile front between Arras and La Bassée France. For the British the main thrust would be north of Lens.In the heart of the industrial and mining area, Slag heaps, quarries and factories

Heavy bombardment of the area with stock piling of arms and equipment were made in preparation for the attack, lessons learnt from previous battles. A violent thunderstorm hit the area on the 23rd September, flooding many communication trenches with visibility made difficult for the artillery to have accrete fire before the attack. Poison gas was used by the British for the first time, although once released it failed to float into the German lines and in some areas blew back into the British.

The first day was of some success taking many objectives, but failed to break out into the countryside. The British sustained over 61,000 casualties. 7,766 killed.

For Ipswich news came through for the first battle honours of the highest order. Sergeant Arthur Saunders of the 9th Battalion the Suffolk Regiment winning a Victoria Cross. Sergeant Saunders taking charge of a bad situation, Crossing no man’s land and advancing on a captured German trench it became clear that the position was not tenable, the order to retreat had been given but had been delayed, Saunders gave orders and fire support to the retreating men holding back the advancing Germans. Saunders despite being wounded continued firing a Lewis machine gun enabling his and another battalion to withdraw. Arthur survived the war having a hero’s welcome on returning to Ipswich a nation hero.

Another Ipswich VC winner was Private Samuel Harvey of the 1st Battalion York & Lancaster Regiment. Samuel had a chequered past serving in a number of regiments. During the battle of Loos Samuels unit had taken a German trench but it became difficult to hold back the counter attack from the German. Hand to hand fighting broke out in the captured trenches with the frequent use of Mills bombs (hand grenades) they soon became short of the bombs. Volunteers were required to go back to the British line to bring back more bombs which Samuel Volunteered for along with an Officer. The Officer was killed crossing no man’s land but Samuel pushed on under fire. Once Samuel entered the British line it became clear it would be difficult as the trenches were full of troops moving up the line as part of the attack, casualties also blocked the trenches. During the Battle of Loos it was noted that many support trenches became blocked through the volume of traffic, also they were hampered through lack of food and water which was noted for future battles. In total Samuel carried over 30 boxes of hand grenades back to his unit crossing no man’s land on countless times which enabled them to hold onto the position. Samuels luck ran out and was shot in the head by a German sniper. He was recognised for his bravery and awarded a VC but never received the hero’s welcome home as Saunders. Samuel survived returning home to Ipswich passing away in the 1960 buried in an unmarked grave until the year 2000 when members of the Western Front Association and donations paid for a headstone. In 2015 two memorial plaques were placed on the entrance gate pathway to Christchurch Park (Soane Street) to commemorate the two Ipswich men’s bravery during the Battle of Loos.

Ernest is also remembered on the war memorial for Ransome & Rapier at Bourne Park, Ipswich.

IMG_3892 (2)

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Posted in First World War, Suffolk Regiment

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