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  • Grave in Bedford House Cemetery, Belgium. Photograph courtesy of Sherwood Foresters Roll of Honour website
Person Details
Retford Nottinghamshire
Ernest was the son of Joseph and Ruth Bingley (née Chapman). His father Joseph was born in Mansfield in 1849 and his mother Ruth was born in 1852 (J/F/M) also in Mansfield. They were married in 1876 (J/F/M Mansfield) but there was a son, Joseph, who was born in Mansfield in 1873 and registered as Chapman, but was always given the surname Bingley on other civil records including the census. Joseph jnr. was baptised at Retford St Swithun on 13 December 1877. Joseph and Ruth probably also had twin sons, John and Herbert Albert, born in East Retford in 1876 (O/N/D East Retford) shortly after their marriage but who both died the same year. Their other surviving children, who were all born in East Retford, were: Lucy b. 1879 bap. St Swithun 8 Decenber 1878, Harry b, 1881, Ernest b. 1884 and Ellen b. 1888. In 1881 Joseph, an iron moulder, and his wife were living on Barrack Row, Clarborough, East Retford, with their children Joseph (7) and Lucy (2). They were still at the same address in 1891; all five surviving children were in the household on the night of the census: Joseph a tailor, Lucy, Harry (8), Ernest (6) and Ellen (2). By the time of the 1901 Census, Ruth was living at 2 Simpson's Yard, Mansfield, with four of her five children: Lucy, Harry a coal miner hewer, Ernest and Ellen. Also in the household was a boarder, Frank D Cummings, who was a coal miner hewer. Her eldest son Joseph, a tailor's journeyman was living in Manningham, Bradford, with his wife Sarah Ann (née Stevenson) of Bradford, whom he had married at Bradford parish church on 2 June 1900. Joseph died in 1912 (O/N/D Bradford) aged 39; there were probably no children of the marriage. Joseph Bingley snr. has not yet been traced on the 1901 Census but there is a record of a Joseph Bingley (62) b. Mansfield, occupation iron moulder, who in 1911 was recorded as a patient in a hospital in Mansfield. He was described as a widowed, but his wife Ruth Bingley (60) was living at 4 Simpson's Yard, Stockwell Gate, Mansfield. She was living alone and completed the census as head of household, describing herself as widowed, occupation charwoman. Neither Joseph nor Ruth has been traced after 1911. Ernest married Mary Ada Ellis (b. 30 January 1888) in 1910 (O/N/D Mansfield). They had three children, Ruth Annie b. 9 April 1911 d. 20 November 1918, Herbert b. 29 August 1913 and Ernest b. 16 September 1915 d. 16 May 1918. In 1911 Ernest and his wife were probably living on Westerfield Road, Mansfield, although at the time of his death in 1917 they were living at 20 Botany, Mansfield. Ernest's widow was awarded a pension of 26/3d (26 shillings and 5 pence) a week for herself and her three children with effect from 7 January 1918, an amount reduced to 25/5d from 11 May 1918 following the death of their son Ernest in May 1918. Their daughter Ruth died on 20 November 1918 aged 7. Ernest's widow married Walter Tomlinson (b. 18 September 1875) in 1918 (O/N/D Mansfield) and they had two children, Doris b. 8 May 1919 and John b. 30 July 1925. In 1939 Mary and Walter, an unemployed labourer, were living at 20 Botany, Mansfield, with their children Doris a hosiery mender and John who worked in a cotton mill. Mary Ada died in 1961. Herbert, Ernest's only child to survive childhood, married Elizabeth Betts (b. 15 June 1917) in 1936 (J/A/S Mansfield). In 1939 they were living at 10 Botany, Mansfield, with their son Brian b. 26 December 1936 (d. 2005 Mansfield). Herbert died in 2000 (Jan Mansfield).
He was a coal miner hewer and before enlisting was working at Shirebrook Colliery.
07 Jun 1917
483838 - CWGC Website
Enlisted Mansfield
11th Bn Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment)
Ernest enlisted in August 1914 and was killed in action on 7 June 1917. He is now buried in Bedford House Cemetery (see 'Extra information'). 11th Bn Sherwood Foresters formed part of 2nd Army's attack on Messines Ridge, the highly successful operation to clear enemy forces off high ground to the south of Ypres as a prelude to the 3rd Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele) launched on 31st July. In early June the unit moved from St Lawrence camp to Halfway House, then Ritz Street support trenches before assembling ready to attack. A series of huge mines were detonated at 20 second intervals causing panic and many casualties amongst Germans defending the area. According to 11th Sherwood Foresters' War Diary (TNA WO95/2187/3), they formed 'the left hand bn of the whole attack. Zero hour was at 3.10am at which hour the mines were exploded. The battalion occupied their objective with four casualties.' However 66 men, including Bingley, lost their lives on June 7th (CWGC Debt of Honour Register). 'The majority,' the War Diary reports,' took place from sniping and shell fire after the position was carried.' Battalion orders had insisted 'All ranks are to be warned that there is no such word as "RETIRE" and that anyone using such a word is in all probability a German.' The unit's response was impressive; Major CE Hudson MC was awarded the DSO for his part in the action. Three officers won the MC and 40 men from the ranks were decorated - 4 with DCMs and 36 with MMs. John Cotterill refelects: ‘It (7/6/1917) was really a day of mixed fortunes for the battalion. As their main responsibility was forming a flank they did not have to advance as far as everyone else but they hit the only really uncut wire. The very left of their objective was the only part of the British objective not to fall although you would not know that from the battalion history or war diary. Despite that, they did pretty well and advanced about 1,000 yards. The confusion and delay when their left hand company hit the uncut wire, unseen in a small hollow, was only sorted out by the energetic intervention of Edward Hudson, a remarkable man with an MC on the Somme, a DSO at Messines , a bar to his DSO at Passchendaele and a VC on the Asiago plateau (Italy). I think the 4 casualties recorded in the war diary just reflect an initial report. The battalion history records 41 x KIA, 169 x WIA and 15 x MIA on 7 June. If one adds KIA to MIA one is only a few short of final CWGC figure of 62. 70 Bde , of which 11th Foresters comprised one quarter , suffered 183 x KIA , 768 x WIA and over 400 x MIA . As few British became PW on 7 Jun one must assume most of the MIA were actually KIA. This gives the brigade nearly 600 dead so 11th Foresters casualties were proportionally the lowest in the brigade, presumably reflecting their flank holding role. The level of gallantry awards reflects more or less what one expects from a successful battalion attack. The DSO which would normally go to the CO, if he did a good job, obviously went to Hudson as second in command. The CO, Watson, had only come out of hospital on the day of the attack so it seems that Hudson was effectively in command. 3 x MCs is slightly less than the average of one per company, which would have given 4. Only 3 of the DCMs were actually for 7 Jun 1917, as the 4th (Sgt Legate) was for a raid on Hill 60 on 9 Apr 1917. Sgt Ellis was right up there with Hudson in terms of bravery with an MM in Sanctuary Wood in Oct 16, a DCM at Messines in Jun 17, a bar to his MM at 3rd Ypres in Sept 17 and a bar to his DCM on the Asiago plateau in Jun 1918. Although the battalion attacked in the first wave at 0310 hrs, it is clear that they did not start taking heavy casualties until German counter attacks began at 10.30 hrs and that , after that , they took a lot of punishment from both counter attacks and heavy and sustained German artillery fire . It seems remarkable that, with a total of 225 casualties, which is over 1 in 3 of the attacking infantry men , the 11th Foresters still had the lowest butcher’s bill in their brigade.’
Ernest Bingley was re-interred (Grave Reference: Enclosure 4, VII A 27) at Bedford House Cemetery, Ieper one of the most beautiful in Belgium. Enclosure No.4, the largest, was used from June 1916 to February 1918, largely by the 47th (London) Division, and after the Armistice it was enlarged when 3,324 graves were brought in from other burial grounds and from the battlefields of the Ypres Salient. Almost two thirds of the graves are unidentified. Mansfield Reporter 20 July 1917: ‘Private Ernest Bingley Killed. Another Mansfield man to give his life for his King and country is Private Ernest Bingley, of the 11th Sherwood Foresters, whose address was 20, Botany, Mansfield, Private Bingley who worked at the Shirebrook Colliery, enlisted in August, 1914, and was very much thought of by all who knew him. He was killed on 7th June 1917, at the age of 34, and his death is keenly felt by his sorrowing wife and three children. His brother, Private Henry Bingley, was killed on the 1st July last year.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Registers of Soldiers' Effects: his widow Mary Ada was his sole legatee. Mansfield Reporter, ‘Deaths’, 24 May 1918: ‘On the 16th inst. Ernest son of Ernest Bingley, Botany, Mansfield, aged 2 years.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk). Mansfield Reporter, ‘Deaths’, 29 November 1918: ‘On the 20th last, Ruth Anne, daughter of Ernest Bingley, The Botany, aged 7 years.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Military Research by David Nunn
Remembered on


  • Grave in Bedford House Cemetery, Belgium. Photograph courtesy of Sherwood Foresters Roll of Honour website
    Ernest Bingley - Grave in Bedford House Cemetery, Belgium. Photograph courtesy of Sherwood Foresters Roll of Honour website