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  • Mr Bettridge's other grandfather, Simeon Brown, was also killed in the Great War.
Person Details
07 Sep 1889
Hucknall, Notts.
Ernest was born in 1889 in Hucknall and he was the son of William a coal miner and Eliza Bettridge née Bettridge of Hucknall, Nottinghamshire. His father William was born in 1858 in Oakthorpe Derbyshire, and his mother Eliza was born in 1863 in Hucknall. They were married in 1882; their marriage was recorded in the Basford Registration district. They had a total of 11 children, sadly only 9 survived until 1911, their children listed on the census between 1891 and 1911 were; Thomas b1883, Eliza b1885, William 1887, Ada b1890, Ernest b1891, Walter b1893, Ellen b1893, Ethel b1894, Lily b1898 and Samuel b1901. All the children were born in Hucknall apart from Samuel who was born at Shirebrook. In 1911 census he was boarding with his elder brother Thomas 29 yrs a coal miner and his wife and family at 77 School Street, Castleford, Yorkshire, also at the address is his younger brother Percy 19 yrs a coal miner and his sisters Ethel 17 yrs and Daisy 14 yrs. Ernest is 21 yrs, single and is employed as a coal miner. In the same census his mother is shown living at 139 Victoria Street, Mansfield, she is living with Herbert Green 42 yrs a widower, and his son Ernest Green 14 yrs. She is shown as Eliza 42 yrs , head married, also living at the address with her are her children Ellen 17 yrs, a tin box presser, Walter 17 yrs, a coal miner, and Samuel 10 yrs, a scholar. In the same census his father is living alone at 46 Newmarket Road, Buwell. He is still a coal miner. Ernest was married to Mercy Louise Ivy Bettridge (née Saunders) on 22nd February 1913 at the Parish Church in Mansfield. They had three children, Samuel Eric born 31st March 1913 at Mansfield and Mercy Louisa Ivy born 14th March 1915 at Hucknall and Sybil I. born in 1916 at Hucknall. They were living at 22 Belvoir Street, Hucknall.
He was a fitter at a colliery when he joined the Royal Navy in 1909. He was discharged from the RN on 24 July 1911 after deserting and then worked as a coal miner.
01 Oct 1916
26
245714 - CWGC Website
17488
Private
7th Bn Leicestershire Regiment
Ernest enlisted at Mansfield on 2nd September 1914, he gave his age as 25 yrs and 362 days, he stated he had been born in Hucknall and was a coal miner. He stated he had previously seen service in the Royal Navy, having served for 2 years and 8 months; he goes on to further state that he was discharged from the Navy for desertion. Ernest joined the Royal Navy on 6 January 1909 on a 12 year engagement (5 years RN, 7 years Royal Fleet Reserve) but deserted on 24 July 1911 for which he was awarded 60 days hard labour and on completion of the sentence was discharged from the service, 'Services No Longer Required'. He served in the following ships and shore establishments: HMS Nelson, 6 January 1909-14 May 1909 (Stoker 2nd Class); HMS Euryalus, 15 May 1909-29 May 1909 and 31 May 1909-26 July 1909; HMS Drake, 27 July 1909-23 May 1910 ), [(1) 14 days cells from 23 May 1910 remitted, see notes below], 23 May-11 January 1910 (14 days cells 12 January 1910-25 January 1910), 26 January 1910-1 March 1911(Stoker 1st Class, 1 January 1910); Victory II, 2 March 1911-31 March 1911; HMS Ariadne, 1 April 1911-24 July 1911. Document marked ‘Run’ [deserted]. Document annotated: ‘(1) Released on King’s accession [9 May 1910]. Remission irregular but to stand vide NP 1105/25.4.11. (-) approves discharge SNLR [Services No Longer Required] after 60 days HL [hard labour] for desertion. Run 24 July 1911 Ariadne, Portsmouth. Recovered (-) 18/1 on 6/8/11 and sentenced by warrant No 86 of 19.8.11 to 60 days HL [hard labour] and shore SNLR after completion.’ On joining the Army he was posted to the Leicestershire Regiment and went for training in Aldershot where on 21st October 1914 he was discharged as being medically unfit, under Kings Regulation 392. iii 6 He later rejoined the regiment in 1915. He was killed in action during shellfire at Gueudecourt on the Somme on 1st October 1916. He is buried in Bernafay Wood British Cemetery, Montauban.
Pte. Ernest Bettridge, 7th Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment, was mortally wounded by shellfire at Gueudecourt on the Somme on 1st October 1916, shortly after the capture of the village. He worked as Lieutenant W. A. Evans’ servant, who wrote to his widow with the news. “Dear Mrs Bettridge, “It is with deepest sorrow I write to inform you that your husband, Pte. E. Bettridge, died of wounds received in action on October 1st. The loss to you and your children is very great. Nothing I can say can ease your sorrow. I mourn with you, for your husband was a man I thought very highly of. He was my servant, and as such had always been of great assistance to me. He told me all about you and the children, of the baby which he had not yet seen. “The news of his death came as a great shock to me. He was sitting beside me in a trench when a shell burst over our heads. We dressed his wounds; I passed him later on as he was being carried to the dressing station. I was told next day that he had passed away. I was able to go and see his body. He is now lying in a small roadside cemetery, with many other brave men, all of whom have given their lives to their country. If, in any way, I can help you, please let me know. “Yours truly, W.A. Evans, Lieut. One of the battalion officers was Lieutenant (Thomas) Cecil Howitt a Hucknall man. Given the local connection, he wrote to the family too. “Dear Mrs Bettridge, “I was very sorry indeed to hear that your husband had fallen in action. We had captured a village and were holding onto the position in some hastily constructed trenches. On October 1st we were being fairly heavily shelled, and shrapnel fell very near B Company Headquarters, where your husband was with 2nd Lieut. Chapman. Here your husband got two pieces of shrapnel in the back, and 2nd Lieut. Chapman and another man were also wounded by the same shell. He was taken a long way back to the dressing station, where he died. Just at the side of the road is the grave where your husband was buried. “Allow me to express my deepest sympathy with you in your great loss. Your husband was a splendid soldier and very hopeful. May you be strengthened in your trouble by the thoughts that he has fallen a British soldier, fighting for the honour of his country. “Yours very sincerely, T. Cecil Howitt.” Lastly, one of his comrades forwarded a letter to be sent to his wife in the event of his death. “Dear Mrs Bettridge, “I was with your husband when he was wounded on October 1st and he gave me the enclosed letter, asking me to write and let you know. I am very sorry to say he died when he reached the dressing station. He was a good soldier and will be missed by all his platoon and officers. You have one consolation to know he died a soldier’s death, facing the enemy. “Yours very sincerely, Pte. A. Hibbard. The above extracts from letters were published in the Hucknall Dispatch dated 16th November 1916 and are courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918. Note: It seems likely from a study of the CWGC debt of honour that all three men who wrote to Ernest's family survived the war.
Remembered on

Photos

  • Mr Bettridge's other grandfather, Simeon Brown, was also killed in the Great War.
    Photo courtesy of Ernest Bettridge's grandson John Bettridge - Mr Bettridge's other grandfather, Simeon Brown, was also killed in the Great War.
  • Ernest Bettridge's 'Death Penny'.
    Courtesy of John Bettridge - Ernest Bettridge's 'Death Penny'.
  • Commonwealth War Grave Commission headstone marking his grave at Bernafay Wood British Cemetery, Montauban. 
Courtesy of Murray Biddle
    Ernest Bettridge - Commonwealth War Grave Commission headstone marking his grave at Bernafay Wood British Cemetery, Montauban. Courtesy of Murray Biddle