Private Ernest GOODWIN


Regiment/Service:
Sherwood Foresters
(Notts and Derby Regiment)
Unit:
10th Battalion
Service Number:
18140
Date of Death:
4 July 1916 - Killed in Action
Age:
19
Cemetery / Memorial:
Grave Number:
IX. M. 5.


Personal History:

Ernest was born in the September quarter 1896, the son of William (Coachbody Maker) and Elizabeth Goodwin of 3 Rose Bank Cottages, Burbage, Buxton. He had two older sisters, Ada and Mary Lizzie, and an older brother William (Willie) (1901 Census RG13/3270).

By 1911 (Census RG 14/21237) Ernest's mother had died in 1905 (his Aunt Annie had moved in) and he was working as a "Golf Caddie". The family was still at the same address. 'The Buxton Advertiser' (12th August 1916) reported that he had formerly been employed as a "Clerk on the office staff at Buxton Lime Firms Co.".
(N.B. Ernest's brother William Goodwin served with The Border Regiment and Died on 26th August 1915 of wounds received at Gallipoli - See Footnote below.)

Military History:
Ernest enlisted at Buxton probably on a Short Service (3 Years) engagement, but unfortunately, his Service papers have been destroyed during a Second World War bombing raid. However, from his Service Number it would appear that he joined-up in the very early days of the War. (e.g. his namesake Private 18291 Ernest Goodwin of Burbage, enlisted on the 2nd November 1914.)
The 10th Sherwood Foresters was formed in Derby on 13th September 1914 and allocated to 51st Brigade, 17th (Northern) Division in Kitchener's Second New Army; it remained in that brigade and division for the whole of the war. They trained in England at Lulworth and Wool, and in May 1915 the division moved to the Winchester area for final intensive training.

On the night of 14/15th July 1915 Ernest's Battalion crossed into France, landing at Boulogne, and for the remainder of the War served on the Western Front.  However, his Medal Index Card shows that Ernest entered France on the 23rd December 1915, so he must have joined later as a reinforcement.

In 1916 Ernest's Battalion was involved in fighting at the Bluff (south east of Ypres on the Comines canal), part of a number of engagements officially known as the Actions of Spring 1916. "The Bluff", is an artificial ridge in the landscape created by spoil from failed attempts to dig a canal. With the additional height in an otherwise relatively flat landscape, The Bluff was an important military objective taken by German forces in February 1916.

During this action Ernest was wounded, reported in 'The Buxton Advertiser', 26th February: "News was received early this week that Pt. E. Goodwin, of Rose Bank, had been wounded during the recent severe fighting. A later message yesterday stated that he was suffering from shrapnel wounds in the hand, and was recovering nicely. ..... He has the best wishes of a large number of acquaintances."

In reporting the death of Ernest's brother, William [see below] 'The Buxton Advertiser' of the 18th September 1915 reported that Ernest ".. was still in Sheffield Hospital suffering from the effects of blood poisoning."

However, he recovered in time to fight again at The Battle of Albert (1st - 13th July 1916), in which the Division captured Fricourt. This was the opening battle in the infamous Battle of the Somme and was where Ernest lost his life. The Derbyshire Times wrote:

"Ernest Goodwin's parents received a letter from the War Office informing them that their son had been missing since the 4th July. For the previous 5 weeks their letters to Ernest had been returned unopened. Prior to enlisting Ernest was a Clerk at the Head Office of Buxton Lime Firms Ltd. His brother William was killed at Gallipoli on 28th August 1915 whilst serving with the 1st Border Regiment."

'The Buxton Advertiser', 30th June 1916, reported that Ernest's father, William: "... has received official intimation that his son, Ernest, missing since July 4th 1916 is now reported killed on that date. For a considerable time little hope was entertained that that this was otherwise as from private sources and the result of enquiries it was inferred that the worst had occurred. It is deplorable to think that Mr Goodwin and his family have now lost both sons in the War." [See Footnote below]

On the 23rd September 1916, 'The Buxton Advertiser' confirmed that: "Very deep and sincere regret is felt that nothing further has been heard of Pte. Ernest Goodwin, reported missing as from July 4th last. Enquiries from every likely source have been made, all to no avail at present."

The Battalion history lists Ernest as being killed in action "... during the attack on the German positions near Fricourt, Somme, France." He is buried in the village of Mametz which was captured by the 7th Division on the 1st July 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme, after very hard fighting at Dantzig Alley (a German trench) and other points. After the War, however, casualties from other Cemeteries were reburied there. Five Officers and 63 men of the 10th Battalion lost their life in the first week of the Somme Battle.


Footnote:
· Ernest's brother Private William Goodwin served with The Border Regiment and died on the 26th August 1915 of wounds received at Gallipoli.

Sources:
· I am grateful to Grant Tobin for the photo of Ernest's Grave
· 'The Buxton Advertiser' 18 September 1915, 26 February, 30 June, 12 August and 23 September 1916
· "History of the 10th Battalion: Sherwood Foresters 1914-1918" Clifford Housley (ISBN-10: 0952964821) - Miliquest Publications (Oct 1998)
· I am grateful to Martin McNeela for additional information about the 10th Battalion.




Link to CWGC Record
Pt Ernest Goodwin's Grave
Pt Ernest Goodwin
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