The Friends of St. Peter's Berkhamsted

Friends of St Peter's, Great Berkhamsted

Corporal Ernest Alfred Reynolds (1888 – 1920)

Grave Number 830

Ernest Reynolds was born in Wigginton on 7th April 1888. He was the only son of five children born to Alfred and Rebecca Reynolds. His father was a farm labourer. After leaving school Ernest worked as a motor mechanic for Edwin Southey at 165 High Street, Berkhamsted.

Ernest enlisted soon after the outbreak of war, joining the Bedfordshire Regiment at Watford on 7th September 1914. Fully trained, he embarked at Southampton on 25th July 1915, entering the theatre of war the following day. He returned to Berkhamsted and married Ethel Emily Ada Sargent at St Peter’s Church on 27th December 1915. Ethel worked at the Mantle Factory and lived at 36 Cross Oak Road. As part of the 7th Battalion he was involved in some of the major battles in France and Flanders, including the Battle of the Somme 1916 and the Battle of Albert. On the 2nd July 1916, Ernest was promoted to Corporal, fighting in the Battles of Bazentin, Thiepval and Ancre. On 20th January 1917, Ernest received a gunshot wound to his right shoulder and was transported back to England. In February, while in hospital at the Southern General Hospital in Stourbridge, he suffered a bout of Trench Fever. Ernest was transferred to Epsom on 5th May for convalescence until 5th June 1917. He was signed out as having a superficial scar to his right shoulder which had healed, leaving no disability. On 14th June 1917 Ernest was posted to the 3rd Bedfordshire Regiment, which was a reserves regiment also used for regulars recovering from wounds on home soil. He received retraining and qualified as a Lewis Gunner. In July he was categorised as B2 and assigned to light duties until demob. On 9th February 1918, Ernest’s wife, Ethel gave birth to their first child, Ernest Jack. In June, Ernest was back in Hospital again, this time with Influenza which lasted 7 days and had no further complications. In August he was transferred to the Army Service Corps and was eventually discharged from the Army on 9th March 1919. On 13th November 1919, a second child was born to Ernest and Ethel – this time a girl named Barbara Patricia. Unfortunately the attack of Trench Fever had left Ernest with vascular disease of the heart. He was granted a pension based on being 50% incapacitated by the condition. In most cases Trench Fever was only moderately serious with symptoms lasting about five days and full recovery within two to three months. In rare cases it caused permanent damage.

Corporal Ernest Reynolds died in Berkhamsted on 28th April 1920. His son would have been two and his daughter just under six months old. His widow, Ethel, never remarried and died in 1973.

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