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Ernest Thompson (1892-1916)

G/6708; Private; 6th (Service) Battalion

The Buffs (East Kent Regiment)



Ernest Thompson’s father, also named Ernest, was the coachman to the Rodd family of Trebartha Hall in North Hill. Ernest senior was a Yorkshireman and had married in Yorkshire to Margaret Denton. They had two children before moving to Torquay in the early 1880s where they had three more children. Upon taking up his post with the Rodd family around 1890 Ernest moved to Trebartha village in North Hill. Margaret and Ernest remained there until their deaths in 1936 and 1941. For some of this time in Trebartha, Margaret worked at the rectory for Sydney Martin, the parish clergyman. Four more children were born in Trebartha village, the eldest of them being Ernest junior, who was baptised in St Torney’s Church on 31st May 1891. The 1911 census records Ernest’s father as working for the Rodd family; his mother and his brother Edwin were working for North Hill’s rector; Ernest himself was a footman to the Enys family at the famous Enys House in Penryn.

War was declared on 4th August 1914 and by 3rd September Ernest was in a recruiting office in London signing up to join the 17th Lancers. Ernest was a little under 5’ 7” and weighed just over nine stone; with his brown eyes, black hair and fresh complexion he would have cut a handsome figure when in uniform. He served in England until June 1915 when he transferred to the 3rd Battalion of the East Kent Regiment, The Buffs. A few days later he was serving in France as part of the British Expeditionary Force. He came home in October and whilst in England was transferred to the 6th Battalion The Buffs before returning to France in December.

During March 1916 his battalion were in the vicinity of the much fought over Hohenzollern Redoubt in the 1916_Plaque_StTorney.jpgLoos sector in France. The battalion made many raids on the enemy throughout the month. A major attack took place on the 6th March in and around a strong point called Triangle Crater. Ernest was killed 12 days later, probably in the vicinity of the Hohenzollern Redoubt, and his body was never recovered.

He is remembered on the Loos memorial at Dud Corner Cemetery, on North Hill’s War Memorial, and on this plaque in St Torney’s Church. This was probably commissioned by his parents – or possibly by the Rodd family for whom his father worked.  His name is also recorded on his father’s grave in St Torney’s churchyard.


The banner image shows the emblems of the 17th Lancers and the Buffs

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