In 1912 Ernest married local girl Clara Turner and the couple settled in a property in Stafford Street, Heath Hayes.
Before the war Ernest was employed as a ‘Banksman’ at an unknown local colliery. He went on to enlist with the 2nd Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment and was stationed at Jersey for several months before being sent to France.
On 14th September 1916, Ernest received a wound to his arm and suffered severe haemorrhaging. He died two days later at Bolougne Hospital, France. Ernest left a widow and two children.
Ernest was buried at the Bolougne Eastern Cemetery, France and is commemorated on the Heath Hayes War Memorial.
After Armistice the Silver jug (pictured here) was presented to St. John’s Church, Heath Hayes. The engraving on the back reads: ‘To the Glory of God & in memory of: W. Cockin [Cockayne], W.T. Archer, A.E. Morris, E. Yates, J.H. Shirley, C.H. Clayton & J. Tooth – who died on active service in France 1914-18. Also as a thanks offering, for the safe return of sons from the war and for the blessing of Victory and Peace. May 1919′.
Although it is nearly one hundred years old, it is still used in weekly services at St. John’s Church on Hednesford Road, Heath Hayes.