Ernest Street, the gardener who was killed at Loos

Ernest was the son of George and Caroline Street of Brabourne, Kent and followed in his father’s footsteps to became a gardener. In 1911 the family were in Godalming but later moved to Corner House, Crossways, Witley.  Ernest enlisted in the army early in the war, joining the 1st Battalion, Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment. On 25 September 1915 the battalion took part in the battle of Loos. After a massive opening artillery bombardment the men advanced over open fields at 6am, reaching the German line without great opposition though elsewhere casualties from German machine guns were heavy (8,500 men were killed and many more wounded). The battalion continued to advance but German counter-attacks drove some of the men back to their own lines. In the attack, 8 officers were killed, wounded or missing whilst 258 other ranks were reported killed, wounded or missing. Ernest was posted as missing in the battle but in January 1916 was confirmed as killed; his body was either not found or not identified and he is commemorated on the Loos Memorial.  Ernest was awarded the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

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