Image from 1915 Suffolk Chronicle and Mercury
Born: 13th April 1880, St. Margaret’s, Ipswich.
Died: 13th August 1915; age 35; Died at Sea. Drowned Dardanelles, Aegean Sea, aboard ‘Royal Edward’, following torpedo attack by enemy submarine.
Residence: 35, John Street, Lowestoft, Suffolk.
Enlistment Location: Lowestoft, Suffolk.
Rank: Sergeant; Service Number: 71
Regiment: Royal Army Medical Corps. (Territorial Force) 54th (1st/1st East Anglian) Casualty Clearing Station.
Medals Awarded: Victory, British War & 1915 Star.
Panel 199 & 200 or 236 to 239 & 328.
Turkey (including Gallipoli).
Relatives Notified & Address: Son of Charles King Roberts & Emma Rose Roberts, of 249, Foxhall Road, Ipswich; Husband of Ethel Rose Roberts, of Urchfont, Devizes, Wiltshire.
1881 39, Wells Street, Ipswich.
Ernest was 11 months old and living with his parents & siblings.
Charles King Roberts, 26, an Engine Driver, born Stepney, London.
Emma Roberts (nee Bird), 24, born Ipswich.
Emma Louisa Roberts, 3, born Ipswich.
Charles Henry Roberts, 1, born Ipswich.
1891 132, Woodhouse Street, Ipswich.
Ernest was 10 years old and living with his parents & siblings.
Charles, 36, a Crane Man – Engine Shop.
Emma, 15, a General Domestic Servant.
Charles, 11, a Grocer’s Assistant.
William John Roberts, 8, born Ipswich.
Bessie Alice Roberts, 2, born Ipswich – died 1895, Ipswich.
Elsie Mary Roberts, 1, born Ipswich.
1911 749, Woodbridge Road, Ipswich.
Ernest was 31 years old, an Insurance Agent – Prudential Insurance Co. Ltd. He was married & Head of the Household.
On the 19th June 1907, Urchfont, Wiltshire, 27 year old Ernest, an Assurance Agent, of 749, Woodbridge Road, Ipswich, married 27 year old, Ethel Rose Edwards, born October 1879, Urchfont, Wiltshire – father, Francis Edwards, a Hay Binder.
They had 3 sons:
Francis Ernest Charles Roberts, born 1908, Ipswich. Baptised Christmas Day, 1908 at Urchfont, Wiltshire.
Philip Arthur Roberts, born January 1910, Ipswich.
Alan Walter Roberts, born 1911, Ipswich.
Probate to Ethel Rose Roberts – widow.
Soldiers’ Effects to Ethel R. Roberts – widow.
Ernest is also remembered on the war memorial at St. John the Baptist Church, Ipswich.
Suffolk Chronicle and Mercury
Friday, 10th September 1915.
Ernest got his First Aid Certificate at a class in St. John’s in 1905, his Nursing Certificate in 1907, and his medallion in 1908. He also passed the very hard examination for Home Hygiene in 1911. As soon as eligible he joined the St. John’s Division, and in one year it is recorded that he made 67 attendances at drills, lectures, etc. In 1908, Ernest was appointed Superintendent of St. John’s Division in Ipswich, and remained in this position until he left for Lowestoft. Ernest was one of the first Ipswich men to join the R.M.H.H.R. and he went at once for training to Colchester Military Hospital. He trained whenever called up until he left Ipswich. In October 1909, Ernest was one of the 160 Ipswich Ambulance people who did duty at Norwich for King Edward’s last visit. He had charge of a large station. In 1911 he did Coronation duty in London, being one of those close to the Abbey. He was also one of the 50 who went to Norwich on June 28th for King George’s first visit. In the same year Ernest was a conspicuous figure at Lord Haldane’s visit to Christchurch Park, and at Lord Kitchener’s inspection of Boy Scouts. In 1912 he went for the great Ambulance Review at Windsor. For some months Ernest acted as Corps Superintendent; but in 1913 he left Ipswich for Lowestoft. In January of that year the officers of the district and corps and the members, presented him with with a very handsome marble clock. Roberts had to give up his R.M.H.H.R. appointment on going to Lowestoft, as there was no Ambulance Divisions there, but he started classes, and later on, brought a contingent of his Lowestoft Ambulance men to join the R.A.M.C., under the late Colonel Gibb.
On August 6th 1915, Ernest sent a card from Malta to the Hon. Secretary of Ipswich, Miss Coulcher. On the card was a picture of Malta and St. John Ambulance Association Malta Centre, with Red Cross and White Cross of Malta, and Ernest had written:- “I thought you would like to have this. We leave to-night. Destination unknown.” A true prophecy, though he did not know it.
Ipswich centre and Corps mourn the loss of a faithful friend.
The Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) is part of the British Army providing medical services to all British Army personnel and their families in war and in peace. Together with the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, the Royal Army Dental Corps and Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps, the RAMC forms the British Army’s essential Army Medical Services. In combat the men followed the troops over the top into no man’s land suffering losses of 743 officers and 6130 soldiers killed, while delivering medical care to wounded exposed to enemy fire.