PAYNE, Ernest James

No.331008, Private, Ernest James PAYNE
Aged 23

9th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
formerly 331008, 1st/1st Battalion, Cambridgeshire Regiment
Died of his Wounds on Thursday, 22nd November 1917

Ernest Payne was born in 1894 in Undley, Lakenheath (Mildenhall Q2-1894 4A:757), son of Samuel and Susan PAYNE (née FLACK).

1901 census...Aged 7, he was at Poplar Farm, Burnt Fen with his father Samuel PAYNES [36] horseman on farm, born Mildenhall; his mother Susan [36]; brother John [11] and sister Ada [9]. All except his father were born in Lakenheath.

1911 census...Aged 17, working on farm, he was at Poplar Farm, Burnt Fen with his parents (father now farmer), and sister Ada now recorded as born in Kenny Hill.
After his father's death, his mother moved to 10 High Street, Lakenheath.

Enlisted in Newmarket.
Lacking his Army service records, it cannot be said how he transferred from the Cambridgeshire to the Suffolk Regiment. Initially recruiting was too much for the Depot in Bury St Edmund so a camp was set up in Cambridge for those men from the Fen villages to attend. This was initially referred to as the Cambridgeshire, but officially became the 11th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment. The Cambridgeshires were a single battalion (1st/1st Cambridgeshire) territorial force.

Dying of his wounds means we cannot say for sure exactly when or where he was wounded. The battalion had taken Marcoing two days earlier in their attack on the Hindenburg Line.

The Bury Free Press of 5th January 1918 reported ;-

We are under the painful necessity this week or recording the death of Prvt. Ernest J.Payne, youngest son of Mr.and Mrs. S.Payne of Kenny Hill. It appears that Prvt Payne took part in the great attack Nov.22 on the Western Front, and sustained wounds undoubtedly of a very serious character. Two days later his parents received a telegram, notifying them of what had happened,and on Nov.26 an official notice to the same effect was received by them. Becoming anxious, they made enquiries of the Record Office, and on December 15 a communication was received, stating that Prvt Payne had succumbed to his wounds at the 48th Casualty Clearing Station. The deceased soldier enlisted in the 9th Suffolk on January 18th of last year and had been in France since April.His age was 23....................

photo: Rodney Gibson

Ernest Payne is buried in Rocquigny-Equancourt Road British Cemetery,Manancourt, grave 2:F:26
and originally named on the Mildenhall memorial

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