COE, Ernest Herbert

No.9037, Lance Corporal, Ernest Herbert COE
Aged 21

7th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action on Tuesday, 20th March 1917

Ernest Herbert Coe was born in Bardwell (Thingoe Q2-1895 4A:795) eldest son of Francis William and Edith COE (née GOODCHILD).

1901 census...Aged 5, he was at Low Street, Bardwell with his father Francis W.COE [28] farm labourer; his mother Edith [28] born Barningham; brother Harold [3] and Cecil [1]. All except his mother were born in Bardwell.

1911 census...Aged 15, a house painter, he was at The Street, Bardwell with his parents and brothers Harold, Cecil, George [8], Norman [4] and Clifford [2].All the new siblings were born in Bardwell.

He enlisted in Bury St Edmunds.
On 20th March 1917 the battalion were in support trenches NE of Arras. The war diary simply says the activity was working parties and that "5 heavy shells fell 50 yards from HQ"
Ernest Coe was the only death recorded in the battalion that day.

The Bury Free Press on 14th April 1917 reported
The parents of the late Lance-Corpl. Coe have received the following letter from Lieut.and Quartermaster J.Hearn of the 7th Suffolk Regiment:- 2Mr dear Mrs.Coe, I feel that I must write to you to offer my very sincerest sympathy in the loss of your son,Lance-Corpl Coe who was killed by a shell on the 20th last. I had known him for over two years, and he has been under my personal charge ever since coming to France in May 1915. As regimental postman he was, I suppose, better known than any other person, officer or man, in the battalion. Always cheerful, willing, and full of interest in his work, his untimely death comes as a shock to us all. He died carrying out the duties of his position and it may comfort you to know that he died almost instantly, without any pain. Also that he died,l having the respect as esteem of all who knew him....
Also from one of his comrades of the Field Post Office 35:- "Dear Madam, it is with deepest regretI and my staff and the post orderlies connected with this Field Post Office wish to tender you our heartfelt sympathy in the loss of your son Ernest. e have all known him from the time the division was formed, and it needs no words of mine to tell you how much we shall all miss him.Being in charge of the post office to which his duty brought him tow or three times a day,I considered him one of the staff....death was instantaneous and he died in the performance of his postal duties to his comrades. Almost his last act (and there was no prouder lad at the time) was the sending of those silk pictures to you, which you should probably have received by now....W.Farrington, Corpl., FG.P.O.35,lB.F.P."

photo: Rodney Gibson

Ernest Coe is buried in Faubourg d'Amiens Cemetery, Arras grave 2:J:6

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details