[Skip to content]

  • Photograph first published in the Retford Times 20 May 1915.
Person Details
Retford Nottinghamshire
Ernest was the only son of Algernon Ambrose Randolph and Jessie Margaret King (née Green). His father Algernon was born in Newark, Nottinghamshire, in 1865, the son of Alonzo and Jane King. He was baptised at Retford St Swithun in 1874; the famiy was then living on West Street, Retford. His mother Jessie Margaret was born in Retford in 1867 (reg. J/F/M), the daughter of George and Judith Green who in 1871 were living in Ordsall. Algernon and Jessie were married at Ordsall All Hallows in December 1889 and had two children who were both born in Retford: Jennie b. 1891 and Ernest birth registered 1895 (J/F/M). Algernon, a county court bailiff, Jessie and their children Jennie (9) and Ernest (6) were living at 64 Wharton Street, Ordsall, in 1901. The family had moved to Fenton Villas, Dominie Cross, Retford, by 1911. Jennie was an assistant teacher (County Council) and Ernest an iron works plater's apprentice (Beehive Egineering Works). Ernest's parents were still living at the same address when their son was killed in 1915. His father was employed at the Beehive Engineering Works where Ernest had worked before enlisting. Jessie Margaret died in 1936 (reg. Huddersfield). Her daughter Jennie (Kaye) was living in Huddersfield in 1939 with George Luther Kaye, a Post Office inspector (record of marriage not yet traced). In 1939 when the England & Wales Register was compiled Algernon King was living on Holly Road, East Retford; his occupation was given as retired estate agent. He died in 1953; the probate record gave his address as Huddersfield.
He worked at the Beehive Engineering Works, Retford. He was a member of Ordsall St Alban's church choir.
08 Aug 1915
1617608 - CWGC Website
(Territorial Force) Dominie Crossroads, Retford. Enlisted Retford.
1/8th Bn Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment)
Ernest enlisted at Retford on 2nd November 1911 in the Territorial battalion 1/8th Sherwood Foresters on a four year engagement. He was 17 years 6 months old, a plater by trade, and lived at Dominie Crossroads, Retford. He was mobilised on 5th August 1914 and served on the home front until going to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force on 1st March 1915. He was one of four Territorials, the others being Sgt Arthur Phillipson and Privates Percy Scott and Albert Smith, killed by the same shell on 8th August 1915 at the front in France. He has no known grave and his name is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium (Panel 39 and 41). Ernest qualified for the 1914/15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal. ‘History of the 1/8th Battalion Sherwood Foresters 1914-1919’, Capt. WCC Weetman MC CdG, ‘The Salient June 1915-October 1915’ - Mentioning the casualties following the ‘activities of July 30th and 31st’, the author continued ‘This total was increased from day to day by incessant shelling, trench mortars and rifle grenades, and by the unfortunate inaccuracy of one of our 6-inch naval guns which persisted in firing into our trenches until its identity was eventually discovered. During the first fortnight in the Salient here, our casualties were no fewer than four officers wounded [named], 36 other ranks killed, or died of wounds, and 90 wounded. Included amongst the killed were Sergt A Phillipson who throughout had shewn the utmost coolness and gallantry.'
Worksop Guardian 20 August 1915 - 'Four Territorials killed by shell fire' 'News has reached Retford of the death at the front of four of the Territorials, killed by one shell whilst serving in the trenches. Of the four the best known is Sergt. Arthur Phillipson, younger son of Mr and Mrs Phillipson, of Richard Street, Newtown, joined the Retford Volunteers about 10 years ago and remained in the company after it transferred to the Territorial Association. He was an excellent soldier, being very keen in learning his duties, and he soon rose to the rank of Sergeant. He was also a very good shot, and his advice on the rifle and all matters appertaining to the duties of a soldiers was always readily given. His death has come as a painful shock to his parents, for he was an exceptionally loyal and dutiful son. He was closely associated with St Alban’s Church which he regularly attends. A short time ago we recorded with pleasure a tribute from his platoon commander after a singularly brave deed performed in the trenches. The Lieutenant wrote that he was proud to have such a Sergeant under his command. 'Sergt. Phillipson was killed, together with Lce-Corpl Scott and Ptes King and Smith by a shell during the recent heavy fighting when several German trenches were captured. He had been employed at the Rubber Works for many years and was highly respected by everyone for his quiet and gentlemanly disposition. 'Lce-Corpl Scott (20) whose parents reside nearly opposite those of Sergt Phillipson, who was another of the victims, was formerly employed at Messrs. Jenkin’s Beehive Works. The news of his death is conveyed in a letter from Pte Farrand as follows:- “ I am writing to you with deep regret to inform you that poor Percy was killed this morning (Monday) along with three more lads by a shell. Two battalions on the left of our Company were to make an attack at dawn and after an hour’s bombardment of the Germans, they did so and our Company had to file into the trenches they had left, so we came in for a good deal of shell fire. It was while we were holding this trench that Percy and the three lads were killed. I was in the next bay and got a good shaking but nothing more. We are all sorry to lose him, for he was very much liked by all in the platoon. He was a capable NCO and we were the only two from Retford in his section, so I shall miss him very much.” 'Pte King was the only son of Mr Ambrose King. Dominie Cross Road, and also formerly employed Messrs. Jenkin’s Beehive Works. He had been in the Territorials three years and was 21 years of age. 'Private Albert Smith attended the first camp with the Terriers just before war broke out. News of his death has been received from Pte Sly, his chum in the trenches. Deceased was formerly employed as a moulder, at Messrs. Jenkin’s. His parents reside in Alma Road.' Retford Times 20 August 1915 - 'Pte Ernest King' 'Pte Ernest King was the only son of Mr and Mrs Ambrose King, Fenton Villa, Dominie Crossroads, Retford. The deceased soldier was employed at the Beehive Engineering Works where his father is now engaged. He had been a Territorial three years and was 21 years of age. As the father intimated to our representative, “It is very hard to lose an only son, but we have the consoling thought that he was killed in action doing his duty: and our hope is that the splendid sacrifice Britain is making, may not be in vain.” The late Pte King was one of the recipients of writing materials distributed by Sergt Phillipson and in a letter to the little girl referred to, said, “The Retford boys are very pleased to think and know our little friends have still got us in their minds. This war is a struggle England has never seen before, but I can see we are winning, and mean to win, although many of our pals have given their lives. Everything is going well. And if the lads at home answer our call, as they are doing, the Germans will be sure to give way before long. The other night, the bounders attacked us at one point, blowing up three mines. But we stuck to it and they were repulsed with a murderous fire from our rifles and machine guns”. Ordsall St Alban's parish magazine, September 1915, Honour to the Fallen: 'John Rossington, Percy Scott, Ernest King, Arthur Phillipson, JD Hilton, have been killed in France or Belgium. Frank Stockdale was drowned in the Aegian Sea when the King Edward transport was torpedoed. Percy Scott, Ernest King, Frank Stockdale and Arthur Phillipson were regular in their attendance at St Alban’s church and were among the most promising of our younger churchmen. Of such soldiers we had great hopes that they would exercise a strong influence for good on other lads in the years to come. All too soon they have fallen, leaving a wide gap in the ranks at home and we pray that their friends and relations may be comforted in their grief and that other lads seeing what has been done will follow their example in self-sacrifice and manly courage.' (Retford Local Studies Library, ref 942.52 ORD) Registers of Soldiers' Effects: Ernest's parents were his legatees.
Remembered on


  • Photograph first published in the Retford Times 20 May 1915.
    Ernest King - Photograph first published in the Retford Times 20 May 1915.
  • Commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium. (www.cwgc.org)
    Ernest King - Commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium. (www.cwgc.org)