REEVE, Ernest

No.8210, Private, Ernest REEVE
Aged 25

2nd Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment
Killed in Action on Wednesday, 10th March 1915

Ernest Reeve was born in 1889 in Dunstall Green, Dalham, (Newmarket Q4-1889 3B:525) son of Charles and Joanna REEVE (née TODD).

1891 census...Aged 1, he was at 26 Dunstall Green, Dalham with his father Charles REEVE [35] farm labourer born Ousden; his mother Joanna [35] born Ousden; brothers George [16] farm labourer, born Dalham, Charles [13] born Dalham, Jonathan [10] born Wickhambrook, Levi [8] born Wickhambrook, and Harry [6] born Wickhambrook and sisters Annie [5] born Ousden, Ethel [3] born Ousden and Ada [3 months] born Dalham.

1901 census...Aged 11, he was at Back Field, Dalham with his widowed mother, brothers John and Harry and sisters Ada and Rachel [8] born Dunstall Green. In this census Dunstall Green is given as place of birth rather than Dalham. His father had died in 1893.

1911 census...Aged 21, he was a private in the 1st Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment in Aden. His mother and brother Harry were in Dunstall Green, Dalham.

He enlisted in Bury St Edmunds when resident in Ousden.
His medal index card is confusing. The very fact that he died in France in 1915 means he must have qualified at least for the 1914-1915 Star. His disembarkation date of 5th November 1914 means he should have qualified for the 1914 Star with clasp (the clasp though had to be applied for and he died before the clasp was instituted). He was in the Army pre war of course and these dates indicate he was an Old Contemptible.
His Army records have not been found, except the 1911 census.

He was killed on the 1st day of the Battle of Neuve Chapelle. A summary from "THE HISTORY of the LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT 1914-1918", compiled from War Diaries, Despatches, Officers' Notes and Other Sources and edited by MAJOR-GENERAL C. R. SIMPSON, C.B. :-
The Indian Garwhal Brigade attacked from the La Bassee road and the 8th Division from Rue Tilleloy, the 2nd Lincolns on the left. It was the first time in the war that artillery was to be used to try and cut the enemy wire. There was rain and occasional snow the day before, but the weather cleared on the 10th and at 07:30 "Granny" ( a 15" howitzer in Sailly Labourse) fired to signal the start of the attack. First a bombardment of shrapnel to cut the wire, then at 08:05 lifted to shell the village. This was a relief as the Lincolns had been suffering casualties from "short falls". 'C' and 'D' companies attack was successful in taking the whole of the enemy's trenches along the battalion front for the loss of about 20 men.
'A' and 'B' companies followed close behind, entering the German line, the enemy appearing to be in full retreat. Then, between the German 1st and 2nd lines their CO was killed. They came up to a water filled ditch which seemed impassable until they found a plank to bridge it. The Germans were found hiding behind a hedge 150 yards further on. Unfortunately British shells now began falling short, forcing a retirement and entrenching. The Royal Irish Rifles then passed through and, crossing the ditch, dug in.
At the end of the day 'C' company was dug in on the left, with 'B' and 'D' companies in support in what had been the German 2nd line. The result of this operation was the the capture of German defences from Port Arthur Salient to just beyond Moated Grange, a front of about 4,000 yards, the village of Neuve Chapelle captured and the British line advance by 1,200 yards.

CWGC lists 83 killed from the 2nd Lincolns, only 17 with identified graves,the rest honoured on the Le Touret memorial

photo: Rodney Gibson

Ernest Reeve is commemorated on the Le Touret memorial, panel 8

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