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Ernest Henry Elliott (1886-1917)

Durham City Busman

Ernest Henry Elliot was born in 1886, the youngest of 11 children born to parents John and Elizabeth Elliott. His parents lived all their lives in the Crossgate area of Durham City, opposite St Margaret’s Church, where all their children were baptised, sadly five children died before they were three years old.

John worked as a gardener, but died in 1888 at the age of 46, when young Ernest was only 2 years old. Ernest’s five brothers were employed in and around Durham City in various occupations. James was a colliery platelayer, John William was a grocer, Albert a mineral cartman, Anthony George a joiner/carpenter, and Frederick worked as a ticket collector and guard for North East Railways.

The 1901 census shows Ernest living with his widowed mother Elizabeth, and three brothers at 17 Crossgate, Durham City. Ernest, aged 15, does not appear to be employed as no occupation is given.

On 20 April 1907, Ernest married a local girl Jane Schofield, Jane was 21 and Ernest 20. The couple had four children, Elizabeth, Jane, Ernest, and William.

The 1911 Census shows Ernest and Jane, and their daughters, Elizabeth and Jane, living at 7 Margery Lane, Crossgate, Durham City. Ernest’s occupation was a coachman for a sinker contractor

In 1915, Ernest and his family were still living at 7 Margery Lane, in December that year, at the age of 29, Ernest attested with the army, his height is recorded as 5ft 2″, and his occupation was busman. Ernest was mobilised in June 1916, joining 3rd Battalion, Durham Light Infantry as No. 35710 Private Ernest Henry Elliot. He was based in England until the end of 1916, and was posted to France, initially joining 12th Battalion DLI, on 1 January 1917. Soon after, on 25 January, he was transferred to 20th Battalion DLI.

Ernest remained in France until 2 August 1917 when a gunshot wound to the chest saw him moved to the 11th Casualty Clearing Station, he remained there until 14th August 1917 when he died from his injuries.

There is a list of his possessions, which appears both poignant and sad when reflecting the loss of a human life but may have brought some comfort to his wife and family, letters, photos, pipe, three rings, two razors, four knives and a cigarette case. Jane his widow, completed the next of kin details and a letter confirmed that Jane and the four children would receive a weekly pension of 28 shillings 9d a week.

Ernest was awarded both the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. He is buried Godewaersvelde, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France, a village near the Belgian border, about 16 kilometres south-west of Ypres. The British Cemetery is a little east of the village.

The 1939 Register shows that Jane (a widow) and youngest son William were still living in Margery Lane, but at no. 4. Jane did not remarry and died in 1952 aged 66 years.

Birth date: 1886
Death date: 1917

Margery Lane, Durham

Coachman for a sinker contractor, busman

Parents: John Elliott (1842-1888) and Elizabeth Elliott (nee Elliott 1850-1909), married on 8 February 1868 at Durham City Register Office.
Siblings (surviving): James (1873-1924), John William (1875-1961), Albert (1880-?), Anthony George (1882-1966) and Frederick (1884-1952)
Wife: Jane Schofield
Children: Elizabeth (1907-1985), Jane (1909-?), Ernest (1912-1994), and William (1915-1986)

Service Type: army

Military Service:
35710 Private
3rd Battalion, Durham Light Infantry, later 12th DLI, and 20th DLI

Victory Medal
British War Medal

St Margaret’s School Roll of Honour (
St Margaret of Antioch, plaque (

Civil Parish: Durham Crossgate

Contributed by Graeme E, Shincliffe

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