RACE, Ernest William

No.320988, Private, Ernest William RACE
Aged 33

15th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
formerly No 18268, Suffolk Regiment
Died of his Wounds on Wednesday, 14th August 1918

Ernest William RACE, born in Stonham Aspall, Suffolk,(Bosmere Q3-1885 4A:722), son of John and Sophie RACE (née GAFFER).

1891 census...Aged 5, he was at East End Road, Stonham Aspall with his father John RACE [45] farm labourer; hi smother Sophia [44] born Cotton, Suffolk; brother Charles [21] farm labourer; sisters Elizabeth [9], Ellen [7] and Emma [3]. All except his mother were born in Stonham Aspall.

1901 census...Aged 15, a farm labourer, he was still at East Endn Road, Stonham Aspall with his parents and sister Lizzie and Emma.

On Christmas Day 1908 he married Florence Beatrice MAYHEW in Creeting St Mary.

1911 census...Aged 25, a cow man on farm, he was in Barton Mills (Church Lane?) with his wife Florence [22] born Stonham Aspall. Their two sons Charles William [1909-1909] and Kenneth E. [1910-1911] had died.

They went on to have four more children, another Charles William in 1912 who sadly died that year, Florence Beatrice [1913-1972], Blanche Laura [1915-1982] and Leonard Frederick [1918-199].

He enlisted in Newmarket.
His service record has not survived so it is impossible to be exact as to when and where he was wounded. He was probably wounded during the British counter attack in early August, dying at 53 CCS in Aire which at the time was close to the front line at Haverskerque-St Venant.

Te Bury Free Press of 31st August 1918 reported :-

Mrs.E.Race of BartonMills, Mildenhall, has received intimation that her husband, Prvt Ernest William Race, of the Suffolk Regiment, has died in hospital in France following an operation which was necessitated by wounds received in action. We publish below an extract of a letter received by Mrs. Race from the Chaplain at the hospital:-
"It is with great sorrow that I write to inform you that your husband passed away onAugust 14. I was with him before he underwent an operation, which was necessary owing to the serious nature of his wounds. He sank rapidly, but I can assure you it was through no lack of attention. Although it must be a terrible blow to you, I am sure you will be afforded some consolation to know that his body was given a Christian burial. I conducted the funeral service....................Prvt Race, who was 33 years of age,was wounded in France after 11 months service. Recovering from his wounds he was sent to Egypt for eleven months. From Egypt he was drafted direct to France and after six months of strenuous service was again seriously wounded, and these injuries, as stated, proved fatal. The deceased soldier was of a quiet disposition and his honest upright character ensured for him a host of friends wherever he went. He was well known in Barton Mills and district and sincere and heartfelt sympathy is extended to the bereaved widow in her loss, whose one consolation is to know her husband died as a true British soldier.

photo: Rodney Gibson

photo: Rodney Gibson

Ernest Race is buried in Aire Communal Cemetery, grave 4:B:3

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