Ernest Newton, 9276 Lance Corporal, 11th Hussars (Prince Albert’s Own)
Killed in action 1st November 1914 in Belgium, aged 21
Ernest Newton was born on 1st March 1893 in Macclesfield, the son of Sarah Ann Newton, a silk weaver. The 1901 census records him living with his mother, aunt Ellen Newton (also a silk weaver) and widowed grandmother Amelia Newton at 31 Newton Street, Macclesfield.
Some time after his 18th birthday, Ernest enlisted into the Army and initially joined the 2nd Dragoons (Royal Scots Greys), a cavalry regiment. The 1911 census records him in barracks with the regiment at York. He later transferred to the 11th Hussars (Prince Albert’s Own), another cavalry regiment, which went to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force on the outbreak of war. It was deployed in action, fighting dismounted as infantry, as part of the struggle to hold the line against the advancing Germans at Ypres in 1914.
By the end of October, the 11th Hussars were in defensive positions around the village of Messines, which stood at the southern end of a ridge which offered a good vantage point over the surrounding flat countryside and was a barrier to the Germans wishing to pass south of Ypres. A big German attack was launched on 31st October and Messines came under attack from artillery fire and infantry. There was bitter hand-to-hand fighting with rifle and bayonet until the Germans succeeded in capturing the town, with heavy casualties on both sides. Ernest Newton was among the British casualties.
Lance Corporal Ernest Newton has no known grave and he is named on Panel 5 of the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial in Belgium. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Ernest Newton, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.
The floral tributes laid when the Macclesfield Park Green War Memorial was unveiled on 21st September 1921 included one with the words “In loving memory of Lance-Corporal E. Newton, from his mother.”
An ‘In Memoriam’ notice was printed in the Macclesfield Times newspaper of 4th November 1921:
“NEWTON – In loving memory of my dear son, Lce-Cpl Ernest Newton,
killed in action November 1st 1914, at Messines.
Time may pass from year to year
And friends from day to day
But never will the one we loved
From memory fade away
– Ever remembered by his Mother.”