Private Ernest Weller

Thank you to John Callcutt for letting us reproduce the following information, taken from his book: A Village at War. Newdigate in World War One.

Ernest Weller was born in Holmwood in 1876 but when he was very young his parents Mark and Mary Ann moved to Workhouse Green in Newdigate. Mark was a drayman but died in 1891 aged 37 and two years later his wife married Mark Gadd and they moved to Hatchetts Farm where he worked until his death in 1906 at the age of 57.

Ernest worked as a post boy but then became a groom and before the war he took a position as groom at Stanhill in Charlwood. He never married.

On the 4th November 1918, the Germans were in retreat and Ernest’s regimen, the 2nd Battalion, Royal Sussex, were participating in the Battle of the Sambre-Oise Canal. They had to cross an area of fields bordered with high hedges and then cross the canal near the lock house. The position was heavily defended and it was here that Lieutenant Colonel Dudley G. Johnson lead the assault which resulted in him being awarded the Victoria Cross for great valour, coolness and intrepidity. No such honours for Ernest Weller as he fell that day, just a week before the Armistice. In the National Probate Calendar under the Index of Administrations he left effects totaling £140 to his mother. He is buried at Le Rejet-de-Beaulieu Communal Cemetery. One week later the bells rang across the country celebrating the end of the war. No such rejoicing for Mrs Gadd and there was grief at another home in Shrewsbury. On the day that Ernest Weller died, and at the same spot, another brave soldier was killed – the famous war poet, Lieut. Wilfred Owen M.C.

Born                            Holmwood, Dorking, Surrey
Lived                           Newdigate, Dorking, Surrey

Son of                         The late Mark Weller and Mary Ann Gadd (formerly Weller) of Clarks Cottages, Newdigate, Surrey

Enlisted                        Bromley, Kent

Regiment                     2nd Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment
Number                       G/11989

Date of Death              4th November 1918
Place of Death             France
Cause of Death            Killed in Action

Age                              42

Cemetery                     Le Rejet-de-Beaulieu Communal Cemetery

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