Ernest Woodward, Private 46012, 7th Bn. York and Lancaster Regiment
Killed in action 21st April 1918 in France, aged 42
Ernest Woodward was born in late 1875 and baptised on 7 April 1876 at St Michael’s Church, Macclesfield, the son of Hannah and Ralph Woodward, a carter of Sutton, near Macclesfield. In 1881, five-year-old Ernest was living at 31 Byrons Lane, Sutton, Macclesfield with his parents and brothers Aaron (10), Ashley (7), Stephen (3) and Lennard/Leonard (1).
Ernest’s brother Aaron died in December 1881, followed by Stephen in February 1882 and father Ralph in March 1882; all three were buried at Wincle. Another son, Eli, had been born in late 1881 but he also died, in July 1882, and was buried at Wincle.
In 1886 Ernest’s mother Hannah married William Rushton Parrott; but the couple seem to have separated by 1901.
In 1891, Ernest and Leonard were living at Gap House, Kettleshulme, both employed as farm servants. Ten years later, they were living at 5 Ivy Road, Macclesfield with their mother; Ernest was a farm labourer and Leonard a cattle man.
In 1906 tragedy struck the family again when Ernest’s brother Ashley died after being gored by a bull; he was buried at Wincle on 26 December.
By 1911, Hannah and her two remaining sons, Ernest and Leonard, had moved to Eddisbury Gate Farm, Buxton Old Road, Macclesfield. Hannah died in 1916, and was buried at Wincle; Leonard later lived at Ingersley Vale, in the parish of Rainow.
Ernest Woodward enlisted in Macclesfield, joining the Royal Welsh Fusiliers with service number 66339, but was later transferred to the York and Lancaster Regiment.
Private Woodward’s cousins, who lived near Rugby, placed an announcement of his death in the Macclesfield Courier on 4 May 1918:
WOODWARD – In memory of Private Ernest Woodward, late of Ivy Lane, Macclesfield, who was killed in action by a shell on April 21st, 1918, in the village of Forceville, France, and was buried in the Military Cemetery there, aged 42 years.
“He bravely answered duty’s call.”
From his cousins, Church Lawford, Rugby.
Private Woodward’s death was reported in the Macclesfield Times on 10 May 1918:
The relatives of Private Ernest Woodward, late of Macclesfield, have been informed of his death in France on April 21st. He was killed by shell-fire. Pte Woodward was 42 years of age.
After his death, the recipient of Ernest’s outstanding Army pay was Miss Elizabeth Wainwright, at the request of his brother Leonard, who received the gratuity payment.
Private Ernest Woodward is buried at Forceville Communal Cemetery and Extension, France, in grave ref. Plot 4. Row A. Grave 6. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Private Ernest Woodward, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.
Brother of Leonard Woodward, who served as Private 230562 in the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry and survived the war.
GRO (England & Wales) Index: Births, Marriages, Deaths
Diocese of Chester Parish Baptisms St Michael’s Church, Macclesfield (Find My Past)
Census (England & Wales): 1881, 1891, 1901, 1911
Soldiers Died in the Great War (Find My Past)
WWI British Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects (Ancestry)
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Lives of the First World War website
Macclesfield Courier: 4 May 1918
Macclesfield Times: 10 May 1918