|Date of birth:||1890|
|Place of birth:||Woolston, Southampton|
|Regiment:||Royal Garrison Artillery|
|Battalion:||214th Siege Battery|
|Rank / Service No:||Gunner, 31358|
|Died:||16th July 1917, aged 26 years|
|Buried:||Dozinghem Military Cemetery, Poperinghe, Belgium (Plot I, Row G, Grave 4)|
Ernest was the fourth of 6 siblings born to John Aitken and Elsie Amelia Douglas (nee Cavell), who married in Southampton in 1880.
John was born in Scotland on 19 June 1850; it’s not known when he died. Elsie was born in Southampton in 1858, and she passed away in Winchester in 1942.
Alexander John b. 1884 Southampton d. 1957 Winchester Married Mary Martin in Winchester in 1910.
Ronald Stuart b. 1886 Southampton d. 1941 Southampton Married Annie Goffe in Southampton in 1915.
Daisy Florence b. 1888 Southampton d. 1917 Portsmouth Committed to a Lunatic Asylum in Portsmouth in 1910.
Norman Frederick b. 1892 Southampton d. 1973 Southampton Married Clara E. Harrison in Winchester in 1949.
Winifred Eugenie b. 1896 Southampton d. 1981 Southampton Married Francis J. O’Brien in Southampton in 1928.
The 214th Battery was formed in Portsmouth on 31 July 1916 and arrived in Le Havre on 24 January 1917.
The 214th was a 4 x 8” howitzer battery, made up to 6 guns on 4 July 1917 when a section from the 62nd Siege Battery joined.
It is recorded that the 214th Battery suffered a gas attack on 12 July 1917, near Ypres. This suggests that perhaps Ernest was a victim of this attack.
Groups of Casualty Clearing Stations were placed in 3 positions (called by the troops Mendinghem, Dozinghem and Bandaghem) near Poperinghe in July 1917, in preparation for the upcoming offensive.
The 4th, 47th and 61st C.C.S were posted at Dozinghem and the military cemetery was used by them until early 1918.
The cemetery now holds 3174 Commonwealth WW1 burials.
Ernest’s headstone reads: “ Thine is the victor’s laurel.”
|Published:||6th July 2016|
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