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  • Photograph published in the Nottingham Evening Post on 5th February 1916. Courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918
Person Details
02 Apr 1887
Bath Somerset
Ernest was baptised 'William Ernest' but was known as Ernest. He was the son of George Henry (also Henry George) and Julia Gay nee Davis. Ernest's father was the son of Daniel and Sarah Gay and was born in Bathampton, Somerset, probably in about 1857. He was baptised 'Henry George' in Bathampton in the parish of Batheaston on 28 February 1858. His mother, Julia Davis was born in Bristol, her birth probably registered in 1855 (J/F/M Bristol) although the likely entry for Julia on the 1939 England & Wales Register gave her date of birth as 7 January 1854. George and Julia were married in 1878 (O/N/D Bath) and from information on the census records between 1881 and 1901 had at least seven children who were all born in Bath (some specified as Walcote, Bath). The five oldest were all baptised on 19 May 1887 at Lyncombe St Mark in the parish of St Mark, Bath, and their dates of birth are taken from the baptismal register: Ada Louisa b 19 March 1879, Lily Georgina b. 29 May 1880, Julia Maud b. 10 July 1882 (J/A/S Bath), Thomas George (k/a George) b. 12 January 1885 and William Ernest (k/a Ernest) b. 2 April 1887. The two youngest children were Albert Daniel birth registered 1890 (J/F/M Bath) and Eliza Ellen birth registered 1893 (J/F/M Bath. In 1881 George (25) a gardener, and Julia (26) a laundress, were living at 1 Bell Inn Cottages, Bath with their two daughters, Ada (3) and Lily (1). By 1891 George, now employed as a general labourer, and Julia were living on Avon Street, Bath, with their six children, Ada (13), Lily (11), Julia (9), George (6), Ernest (4) and Albert (1). By 1901 the family had moved to Summerfield Cottages, Clifton Road, Bath. George was working as a dustman for Bath Corporation while Julia was a charwoman. Only four of their children were in the home on the night of the census: George (16) a blacksmith's labourer, Ernest (13), Albert (11) and Eliza (8). Ada has not been traced after 1891, Lily Georgina had married Henry Brain on 2 December 1899 at the Bath Register Office and was living independently (d. 1960 J/F/M Bath aged 80) while Julia (18), the third daughter, was a laundress and registered at the House of Refuge, Marlboro Hill, Bristol. Julia probably died in 1903 (A/M/H Bath) at the age of 19. Ernest and Albert have not yet been traced on the 1901 Census. George Henry probably died in 1905 (O/N/D Bath) aged 48 and the evidence is that his widow and at least Ernest and Albert then moved to Nottingham. Albert attested on 19 August 1907 in Nottingham and joined the Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment). He was 18 years 9 months old and had previously been employed as a merchant seaman. By 1911 he was serving with the 1st Battalion in India. Ernest married Sarah Elizabeth Cockayne (also Cokayne) in 1909 (O/N/D Nottingham) and in 1911 they were living at 1 Canaan Street, Nottingham. Ernest (23) was a leather dresser while Sarah (21) was a cotton doubler. They had one daughter, Ethel Julia b. 26 April 1910 (A/M/J Nottingham) and a son, Ernest George, was born the following year in 1912 (J/A/S Nottingham, mother's maiden name Cockayne). Both children were baptised in Nottingham (no details available). At the time of Ernest's death in November 1914 the family was still living at 1 Canaan Street although the widowed Sarah had moved house by at least November 1916 (NEP notice) and in May 1918 was living at Lowe's Place, Leen Side, Nottingham, according to reports in the local papers of an attempt by Sarah to commit suicide (see 'Extra information'). Sarah may have died in 1955 (A/M/J Nottingham) aged 64. Ernest's brother, Albert Daniel, was killed in action on 9 January 1915 while serving with the Sherwood Foresters; he is commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial. A newspaper report of his death gave his address as Ellis Terrace, Northville Street, Nottingham. In 1919 Albert's mother provided a form for the Army listing his surviving blood relatives. The document is largely illegible but it shows that Albert had neither wife nor children. His mother, who at one time had lived at 10 Harold Terrace, Pole Street, Nottingham, was then living at 5 Pemberton Place, Leen Side, Nottingham. The document was signed by Julia with a cross, 'her mark'. (See record on this ROH.) Ernest's mother Julia was probably a patient (or inmate) in the Public Assistance Institute, 700 Hucknall Road, Nottingham, at the time of the 1939 England & Wales Register. Her date of birth was given as 7 January 1854. She died aged 88 in 1942 (A/M/J Nottingham). Of Ernest and Sarah's two children: Ethel Julia married Lelsie Cooper (b. 14 April 1910) in 1937 (J/A/S Nottingham). In 1939 at the time of the England & Wales Register they were living in Nottingham; Ethel was a glove knitter and Leslie an art silk warp knitter. Ethel died aged 83 on 26 January 1994; the probate record gave her address as 104 Welstead Avenue, Aspley Estate, Nottingham. Ernest George married Ellen Greenhalgh in 1935 (A/M/J Nottingham) but died two years later in November 1937 (O/N/D Nottingham) at the age of 25 (see 'Extra information'). The funeral service was held at St. Saviour's, probably the parish church in the Meadows, Nottingham, and he was interred at Wilford Hill.
Ernest was a leather dresser in 1911.
02 Nov 1914
26
873080 - CWGC Website
7082
Enlisted in Bath, Somerset
Private
1st Bn Somerset Light Infantry. Ernest enlisted in Bath and served with the 1st Battalion Somerset Light Infantry. With his battalion he formed part of the British Expeditionary Force, landing in France on 21st August 1914. He was killed in action on 'or since' 2nd November 1914. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial, Belgium.
Registers of Soldiers' Effects: his widow Sarah E. was his legatee and she received payments for herself and her children. Nottingham Evening Post notice (abridged), 9 February 1915: ‘Pte E Gay, 1st Somerset Light Infantry, 1 Canaan Street, Nottingham. Missing since November 2nd. Brother of A Gay.’ Notice, 'Roll of Honour', Nottingham Evening Post, 31st January 1916: - “GAY. - Private Ernest Gay, 1st Somerset L.I., been reported missing since November 2nd, 1914, now official news dead, late 1, Canaan-street, Nottingham. Not dead to one who loved him, not lost, but gone before; he lives with me in memory still, and will for ever more. - From his loving wife Sarah and two children.” Above obituary courtesy of Jim Grundy and his face book pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918 Nottingham Evening Post, ‘In Memoriam’, 2 November 1916: ‘Gay. In loving memory of Pte. E Gay, Som. L.I. fell in action November 2nd, 1914. Ever in my thoughts. From his loving wife Sarah and two children.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Nottingham Evening Post, ‘In Memoriam’, 2 November 1917: ‘Gay. In loving memory of Pte. E Gay beloved husband of Sarah Gay (nee Cockayne) (sic), fell in action November 2nd, 1915. Fondly remembered. Wife and children.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) His widow Sarah Gay tried to take her life on 11th May 1918. “RESCUED FROM THE TRENT. “Observed struggling in the river Trent this morning, [11th May 1918] Sarah Gay, 28, of Lowe's-place, Leen-side, Nottingham, was rescued with some difficulty by a boatman. She was taken to the Guildhall and detained on a charge of attempted suicide. It appears that the woman lost her husband in the war and had recently been ill.” Above newspaper report was published on 11th May 1918 in the Nottingham Evening Post “RESCUED FROM RIVER. “EXCITING SCENE NEAR COLWICK PARK. “A young widow, Sarah Gay (28), of Lowes-place, Leen-side, was rescued from the Trent near the Nottingham Trent-lane Pleasure Park on Saturday. “Shortly before noon Mr. S. Sansom's attention was drawn to the woman, who was struggling in deep water. “He obtained a boat and after some difficulty Gay was brought ashore. She was taken to the Nottingham General Hospital and afterwards to the Guildhall, where she was charged with attempting suicide. “It is stated that the woman lost her husband in the war and had become ill in consequence of her trouble.” Above newspaper report was published on 13th May 1918 in the Nottingham Journal and Express. Above two reports are courtesy of Jim Grundy and his face book pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918 Nottingham Evening Post, ‘Deaths;, 26 November 1937. ‘Gay. Ernest a beloved husband and son, passed away November 25th (sic) aged 25.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Nottingham Evening Post, ‘Deaths’, 29 November 1937: ‘Gay. Ernest George. Beloved husband of Nelly, died November 26th,(sic). Funeral service St Saviour’s, 2.45pm, Tuesday; interment, Wilford Hill, 3.15pm. Peace after pain' (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Nottingham Evening Post, ‘Deaths’, 29 November 1937: ‘Gay. Ernest George, dear brother of Ethel and Les. Rest at last.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)
Remembered on

Photos

  • Photograph published in the Nottingham Evening Post on 5th February 1916. Courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918
    Ernest Gay - Photograph published in the Nottingham Evening Post on 5th February 1916. Courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918