HARGREAVES Ernest

Ernest HARGREAVES

Hargreaves1
DUHALLOW A.D.S. CEMETERY

Ernest served in Royal Field Artillery and was killed in action on 20th August 1915.  The Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects record that his widow Florence was authorised to receive his effects.  On the 1911 census an Ernest and Florence Hargreaves are record living at 1 Claremont Road, Halifax.

It is believed that his parents were Henry and Emily Hargreaves and he had a number of brothers and sisters.  Another address found for Ernest is The Nook, Crow Point, Boothtown.  No Queensbury address has been found for Ernest, other than the details below from the Halifax Courier that mention Ambler Thorn which covered a larger area than it does today, including down to Boothtown.  I have included Ernest though due to the link to Ambler Thorn.

The Halifax Courier, 28 August 1915, has details of Ernest and includes letters from his comrades.

“The 5th Battery Royal Artillery (Halifax) sustained its first loss yesterday, when Driver Hargreaves was killed by a piece of shrapnel.  Casualties have been many but none fatal until yesterday.  Driver Ernest Hargreaves hailed from Ambler Thorn and before the war was an insurance agent there.

Drivers Hargreaves, Dilworth, Clay and Binns were sheltering in a dug out during heavy shelling.  For some time, the Germans had been peppering away, evidently with the intention of finding something.  One of the shells found a mark in front of the shelter where the Drivers were and Driver Hargreaves and Dilworth decided to clear out.  Thought for their horses was their undoing.  Rushing to the horse lines each man seized his pair of horses and made an attempt to reach cover.

Driver Hargreaves was struck on the neck by a piece of shrapnel and instantly killed, his horses strange to say were uninjured.  Dilworth had an alarming experience and an almost miraculous escape.  His horses were killed and presented a horrible sight, while he was untouched.  Altogether the Battery had 9 horses struck, six of which died.  Driver Hargreaves was a splendid comrade and was very popular with the rest of the men of the Battery.”

Details of his burial include: “When evening had fallen and the moon’s rays shed their light over the camp field the men of the Battery turned out to pay their last respects to their fallen comrade.  Major Bullock and upwards of 40 Halifax men stood around the rough grave and aided by the feeble light of a lantern, the fallen Driver, wrapped in a Union Jack, was gently lowered into his clay bed.  A Chaplain belonging to a Cavalry Regiment took the short simple solemn service.  Another Halifax man had gone to his last resting place, having giving his life for his country’s cause.”

Mrs Dilworth, mother of Driver Milton Dilworth, received a letter from her son confirming the death of Ernest, some information is slightly different to what we have read earlier.  He writes:

“We have recently been having a busy time and amongst other things we have had to move our horse lines.  As no doubt you are aware we were shelled out last Friday, and had 10 horses wounded and six killed.  One man, Driver Hargreaves was also killed, the very man you mentioned in your last letter.  I am very sorry about his death, because it will be such a great shock for his wife and mother. 

He was a groom with me for the Battery.  I don’t think he would feel much pain because he was unconscious and died within half an hour.  There was nobody else hit, but both my horses were wounded and one will probably have to be shot.

We had a decent burial for Hargreaves, I was chosen as a bearer.  A Chaplain read the burial service and two of our own Officers attended.”

It is not known where Ernest was first buried, it does seem that he had an isolated grave which was protected from further fighting as his body was exhumed in 1919 and reburied at DUHALLOW A.D.S. CEMETERY (VII. D. 5).