Egerton – Corporal Ernest Albert

10 November 1897 – 14 February 1966

Ernest was born in Longton, near Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire. He was employed by Florence Coal and Iron Company, Longton as a haulage hand, but he declared he was a miner when he enlisted in November 1915. He initially served in the North Staffordshire Regiment, before transferring to the Sherwood Foresters in November 1916.

On 20th September 1917 southeast of Ypres, Belgium: during an attack, visibility was bad owing to fog and smoke. As a result, the two leading waves of the attack passed over certain hostile dugouts without clearing them and enemy rifles and machine-guns from these dugouts were inflicting severe casualties. Corporal Egerton at once responded to a call for volunteers to help in clearing up the situation and he dashed for the dugouts under heavy fire at short range. He shot a rifleman, a bomber and a gunner, by which time support had arrived and 29 of the enemy surrendered.

He was granted leave to receive his VC in December 1917 and later returned to Stoke-on-Trent where he was met at the station by the Mayor who took him to lunch. The Mayor and his Deputy then escorted Ernest to Longton. He was carried shoulder-high through a cheering crowd to an open carriage for a triumphal tour of the town.

He suffered tuberculosis in the latter stages of the war and was medically discharged. Ernest became a bus conductor, and during the Second World War he served in the Local Defence Volunteers and later the Home Guard.

Upon his death his family presented his medals to the regiment, and his Victoria Cross is held at the Museum of the Mercian Regiment, Nottingham Castle.

Filed under: WW1