Service: 6th Battalion Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent) Regiment.
Service No: G/17802
Date and place of birth: 1898, Rogate, Sussex.
Date and place of death: 7 February 1917 (aged 19). Died of Cerebrospinal Fever, near Bethune, France

Ernest Dawtrey was born in Rogate and lived in Slade Lane. His brother William was killed earlier in the War.

Family background

In 1901 Ernest Dawtrey lived at Vicarage Farm in Slade Lane. He was the second and youngest son of seven children of William Dawtrey, who was born in Portfield, Chichester, a farm labourer and his wife Ann who was born in Rogate. William [senior] and Ann were living at Vicarage Farm in 1891, having married in 1890 but at that time had no children.

The family still lived in Slade Lane in 1911 but Ann, his mother, had died in 1908. On the 1911 Census forms the name is spelt as ‘Dawtery’. At this time Ernest is described as being a ‘labourer on farm’ even though he was only 14 years of age..

Military service

Ernest enlisted in Petersfield on 8 December 1915, just two months after his brother had been killed. He enlisted into the 27th (Reserve) Battalion Royal Fusiliers with the service number 2535. He was called up for service on 19 May 1916 to the Recruiting Office at 6 Park Street, Horsham.

On 1 September 1916, he was transferred and posted to the 6th Battalion of the Royal West Kent Regiment with the service number G/17802. He embarked for France on 6 October 1916, joining the Battalion on 18 October.

Death and commemoration

Ernest Dawtrey died of Cerebrospinal Fever on 7 February 1917. He is buried in St Pol Communal Cemetery, about 29 kilometres south-west of Bethune, and is commemorated on the Rogate War Memorial.

Midhurst U3A WW1 War Memorial Project