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  • 15663 Private Ernest Wass was killed in action during the Battle of Thiepval. He was buried behind the front line and after the Armistice his remains were re-interred in Connaught Cemetery, Thiepval.  Visited and wreath laid by John Morse. Photograph courtesy of Terry Carter.
Person Details
Chesterfield Derbyshire
Ernest was the son of John Thomas Wass and his wife Hannah Wass (née Widdowson). His father John Thomas was born in Stavely, Derbyshire, in about 1863, the son of Richard and Ann Wass. His mother Hannah Widdowson was born in 1867, also in Staveley, the daughter of John Widdowson. John Thomas (25) and Hannah (21) were married at Staveley St John the Baptist in January 1888. However, Hannah had had a son, Herbert Widdowson, who was born in Marston Moor, Derbyshire, in 1886 (reg. A/M/J Chesterfield) and baptised at Stavely in June 1886. Herbert was known as Wass on subsequent civil and military records. Three other children were named on the census of 1891 and 1901: Martha Ann b. Swinton Yorkshire 1890 (reg. Rotherham) d. 1892 (reg. Rotherham); Ernest b. Chesterfield 1894 bap. Chesterfield Church of the Annunciation 22 January 1895 and Leonard b. Chesterfield 10 April 1896. A second daughter, Mabel, was born in 1902 (reg. Worksop) and also baptised at Chesterfield Church of the Annunciation in August 1902. There are also records of three boys who may have been John and Hannah's sons: William Wass b. 1893 (reg. Chesterfield), John Thomas b. 1901 (reg. Worksop) d. 1902 (reg. Worksop) and Frederick b. 1906 (reg, Worksop); all the birth registrations gave the mother's maiden name as Widdowson. In 1891 John Thomas (28) and Hannah (23) were living on Piccadilly Road, Swinton, with their two children Herbert (4) and Martha (under 1 year). Martha died the following year. The family then probably lived in Chesterfield between 1894 and 1896 when Ernest and Leonard were born. By 1901 the family had moved to Court 1, West Street, Worksop: John, who was working as a brickyard labourer, Hannah, Herbert a colliery pony driver, Ernest and Leonard. John has not yet been traced on civil records after 1901 but Hannah may have died in 1907 (reg. J/F/M Worksop). However, their son Herbert (Wass) enlisted in the Militia on 1 June 1905 (891 Private, Notts & Derby Regiment) and gave the following information: aged 19 years 1 month, occupation coal miner, living in Brampton, Chesterfield, parents John and Hannah Wass 'address not known.' Herbert has not yet been traced on the 1911 Census but Ernest (16), a trimmer (coal mine underground), was a boarder in the home of Charles Morton, an agricultural labourer, at Lowtown Street, Worksop. Leonard (14 b. Chesterfield) was an inmate in the Training Ship 'Exmouth' berthed at Grays, Essex. The Training Ship took boys from the age of 12 and was managed by the Metropolitan Asylums Board. A small number of places were allocated to boys from parishes outside the Metropolitan Poor Law Area and Leonard had been admitted in June 1909, referred by Worksop Union or Parish. Mabel (9), who was born in Chesterfield in 1902, was living on Pelham Street, Worksop, in the home of James Henry Webster (22), single, head of household, a coal hewer's fitter, and Mary Ellen Marshall (32) single, occupation housekeeper. Mabel was described as an 'adopted daughter'; James and Mary were married in 1914. Leonard attested in the Territorial Force (4 years service UK) on 3 April 1914. He was 18 years old, a haulage boy at a colliery and living on Worksop Road, Swinton. The service record gave his father's name, John Thomas, but again with no address. Leonard transferred to embodied service on 5 August 1914 and was posted to the Yorks & Lancs Regiment (1956 Private). Leonard's record shows that there was a Court of Inquiry in December 1915 to investigate his absence without leave and deficiency of kit and equipment; he had deserted on 20 November 1915 and was struck off the roll. However, there is a record of a Leonard Wass, b. 10 April 1896 serving in the RNVR (Tyneside A/8792) as a signaller, last ship HMS Ocean Roamer (CWGC-HMS Attentive). No date of enlistment has been traced, but he died (disease) on 16 December 1918 and was buried in Aston cum Aughton Cemetery, Aston, near Sheffield. He qualfiied for the British War Medal and Victory Medal. Leonard had married Doris Woodhouse (b. 1896) in 1916 (reg. Ecclesall Bierlow, Yorkshire) and they had a daughter, Paulina May b. February 1918. Doris and her daughter lived at Swallownest, Aston (cum Aughton), Sheffield, where Leonard is commemorated on the war memorial in All Saints church. His sister, Mabel, who was their brother Ernest's legatee, also lived in Swallownest.
1911 - trimmer, coal mine (underground)
26 Sep 1916
21
527076 - CWGC Website
15663
Resident Worksop. Enlisted Brighton Sussex.
Private
9th Bn Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment)
9th Bn Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment) Ernest Wass served with the battalion on Gallipoli and in Egypt. The battalion moved to France on 1 July 1916 and went to the Arras sector. In August 1916 they moved to the Somme and took part in the Battle of Thiepval 26/29th September 1916. Ernest was killed on the first day as the battalion attacked and took all three of its objectives. He would have been buried close to the trench and after the Armistice was reinterred in Connaught Cemetery Thiepval (grave VI.E.6). The cemetery is close to the 1 July 1916 front line and the wood behind it was known as Thiepval Wood. Ernest qualified for the 1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal. John Morse
His brother Leonard served in the Royal Navy in the war and died on 16 December 1918 aged 23. (See 'Family history') Registers of Soldiers' Effects: Ernest's legatee was his sister Mabel Wass. WW1 Pension Ledgers Index Cards: named his sister, Mabel Wass, of Swallownest, Aston, near Sheffield.
Remembered on

Photos

  • 15663 Private Ernest Wass was killed in action during the Battle of Thiepval. He was buried behind the front line and after the Armistice his remains were re-interred in Connaught Cemetery, Thiepval.  Visited and wreath laid by John Morse. Photograph courtesy of Terry Carter.
    Ernest Wass - 15663 Private Ernest Wass was killed in action during the Battle of Thiepval. He was buried behind the front line and after the Armistice his remains were re-interred in Connaught Cemetery, Thiepval. Visited and wreath laid by John Morse. Photograph courtesy of Terry Carter.