Ernest George Wingham

Date of birth:                     1879
Place of birth:                   Southampton
Date of marriage:            1910
Place of marriage:           Portsmouth
Service No.:                       2331
Rank:                                     Private
Regiment / Division:      Hampshire Regiment
Battalion:                            1st Battalion
Died:                                      23rd October 1916 aged 37 years
Death Location:                France

Life before the War
Ernest was born 1879 in Southampton.  His parents were George and Lydia Jane, nee Collins, who married 1877 in Southampton.  Ernest’s mother died in 1898.  George and Lydia had four other children:

May Lilian E   b.1878
Dora Adela   b.1883
Hubert Collins   b.1885
Elsie Ida   b.1889

In 1871 George was a Signalman aboard the Sealark which was moored off Drakes Island, Plymouth Sound, Devon.

In the 1881 and 1891 censuses George, with his wife Lydia and their children, was living at 35 Manchester Street, All Saints, Southampton.  George was a Grocer’s Manager.

By the 1901 census George was a widow, still employed as a Grocer and by now living at 15 Stafford Road, Shirley, Southampton.  With him were his daughters Dora and Elsie and son Hubert.  His son Ernest was a Grocer’s Assistant living as a boarder at 85 East Street, St Marys, Southampton.  Daughter May Lilian had married in 1897 to William John Bull.

George died 1910 in Southampton.  His daughters Dora and Elsie, a Dressmaker, were living with their aunt and uncle in 1911 at 5 Ordnance Road, Southampton.  Hubert was an Ironmonger’s Assistant living as a boarder at 28 Church Street, Alton, Hampshire.  May was living in Berkshire with her husband and children.

There is no trace of Ernest and his wife Lilian M, nee Williams, in the 1911 census.  They married 1910 in Portsmouth.  They had a son George E born 1911 in Portsmouth.


War Service
Ernest enlisted in Lymington, Hampshire, joining the Hampshire regiment, 1st Battalion.  His rank was Private and Service Number was 23311.

He was killed in action on 23rd October 1916 whilst serving in the Western European Theatre.

He is Remembered with Honour on the Thiepval Memorial, France.

The Thiepval Memorial, the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20th March 1918 and have no known grave.  Over 90% of those commemorated died between July and November 1916.  The memorial also serves as an Anglo-French Battle Memorial in recognition of the joint nature of the 1916 offensive and a small cemetery containing equal numbers of Commonwealth and French graves lies at the foot of the memorial.

Ernest was entitled to the Victory and British Service Medals.


Researcher: Becky Lonergan
Published: 3rd June 2015
Updated: Insert dates here

If you have any additional information about the person named above please complete the Comments section below.

2 responses to “Ernest George Wingham

  1. Alan Bungey

    The 23rd October 1916 on the Somme has tragic memories for the 1st Battalion Hampshire Regiment. There are several men named on Southampton’s Cenotaph who are among those who lost their lives during the action that took place on that day.
    On the 22nd October the 1st Hampshires moved up to the front line, relieving the 1st Somerset Light Infantry, East of and midway between Morval and Lesboeufs in preparation for an attack by 11 Brigade the next morning, the objective being a ‘Brown Line’ marked on a map.
    The night was fine and clear and the day of the 23rd broke to a heavy mist. Zero hour was planned for 11.30am but postponed until 2.30pm to allow for the very wet ground to dry a little. The 11 Brigade had 1st Battalion Hampshire Regiment in the front line with the 2nd Royal Dublin Fusiliers on their left, the 1st Rifle Brigade and 1st Battalion Warwickshire Regiment being in support respectively. The French were on their right. 12 Brigade were also to make an attack further up the line, on the right of 11 Brigade.
    The guns of the Royal Artillery Field and Heavy Batteries were falling short most of the morning. At 2.30pm an intense rolling barrage opened and the Hampshires commenced their advance, C Company on the left and A Company on the right, D Company in Support and B Company in reserve.
    At once the infantry came under heavy machine gun and rifle fire from a German position known as Boritska Trench and they were scarcely able to advance, the French also failing at the outset. The right section, presumably A Company, managed to reach the first German Trench, holding it for only a few hours. Lack of ammunition forcing them to retire back to their normal position along with the whole line. The Royal Dublin Fusiliers did manage some success, taking a German strong point known as the Gun Pits. The Hampshires were relieved in the front line after dark by the 2nd Royal Welsh Fusiliers and marched back to their bivouacs in Trones Wood.
    The war diary for the 24th October records the huge loss suffered by the 1st Hampshires in the previous day’s operation. Casualties amounted to 192 other ranks and 10 Officers. Today the Commonwealth War Graves Commission records 83 deaths from the 1st Battalion Hampshire Regiment on 23rd October 1916, including four officers. Only eight of these 83 men have known graves, the rest being commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.

  2. Alan Bungey

    His service number should read 23311 above.
    Looking at service number patterns for the Hampshire Regiment, Ernest would have voluntarily enlisted under the Derby Scheme prior to the cut off date for volunteers on 15 Dec 1915. He wouldn’t have been mobilised until 9 April 1916 (give or take a day or two) when he was called to Winchester Depot and placed in the 16th Battalion Hampshires who were training in Portsmouth at that time. He would have been posted overseas on 1st July 1916 to No.3 Infantry Base Depot – Rouen, France, missing the starting day of the Battle of the Somme. After spending some time at the Base Depot, he was posted to the 1st Battalion Hampshires on 17 July 1916. By this time the 1st Hampshires had already left the Somme and entrained for Ypres, Belgium. The 1st Hampshire Regiment War Diary records the arrival of a draft of 300 men on 17 July 1916 “mainly from the 16th Btn with a sprinkling from the 14th Btn.” which would have included Ernest. The 1st Battalion returned to the Somme in September 1916. The attack on Boritska Trench on 23 Oct would have been his first experience of ‘going over the top’.

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