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Person Details
Ernest Wilson was born in 1889 the son of Alexander Frederick Wilson a painter and decorator and Ada Wilson (née Mellors). Alexander Frederick was born in 1868 at Mansfield, Ada Mellors in 1868 at Nottingham. She died in 1906 aged 38. Married in 1888, they had six children, three surviving infancy – Ernest (b.1889), Beatrice (b.1891) and Marian Ada (b.1898). Ernest married Ethel Kate Atkinson (b.1/8/1880, Nottingham) on 14th May 1910. They lived at 22, Camden Street, Sneinton Road, Nottingham. They had three children - Beatrice Marian Ada (b.1st August 1910), Frederick Ernest (b.10th March 1912) and Phoebe Elizabeth (b.2nd September 1914). In 1911, Ernest, Ethel and Marian lived at 2 Providence Square, Hermit Street, Sneinton, Nottingham. Also in 1911, his widowed father, still a house painter, was living at 44, Wilford Grove, Meadows, Nottingham with his two daughters Beatrice, a blouse machinist and Marian Ada who was at school. With effect from 2/9/1918, Ethel was awarded a weekly pension of 29 shillings and 7 pence.
Ernest Wilson was a painter and decorator in 1911.
30 Dec 1917
1439251 - CWGC Website
Royal Engineers
5th Siege Coy, Royal Anglesey Ernest Wilson was drowned in the loss of the HMT Aragon on 30th December 1917. On the 30th December 1917, the Troopship S.S. Aragon, a 9,588 ton ocean liner, arrived at Alexandria Harbour, having sailed from Marseilles on the 17th December. She was carrying around 2,700 troops bound for the conflicts in Palestine. Argon was escorted by a destroyer HMS Attack. On approach to the port Attack zig-zagged ahead to search the channel for mines while Aragon waited in Alexandria Roads. The armed trawler HMT Points Castle approached Aragon flying the international flag signal "Follow me". The troop ship did so, until Attack returned and signalled "You have no right to take orders from a trawler". The destroyer intercepted Points Castle and then ordered Aragon to return to sea. The troop ship obeyed and turned back to sea. The most senior of Aragon's officers to survive what followed tried to make sense of the confusion: "The only explanation that the writer can put forward is that the commander of the Attack had a warning of mines in the channel, causing him to order Aragon to disregard Points Castle's "Follow me". Evidently the enemy laid mines at the appropriate time in the knowledge that the ship would be kept out and thus present a target for torpedo attack." Although within sight of land, Aragon was torpedoed by the German Submarine and minelayer the UC-34. Attack, as well as every available ship within reach, hurried to Aragon’s rescue as she sunk quickly. Attack was now crowded with 300 to 400 survivors: some naked, some wounded, many unconscious and dying. One soldier, Sergeant Harold Riddlesworth of the Cheshire Regiment, repeatedly dived from the destroyer into the sea to rescue more survivors. He survived and was decorated with the Meritorious Service Medal. Then a torpedo from UC-34 struck Attack amidships and blew her into two pieces, both of which sank with five to seven minutes. The explosion ruptured Attack's bunkers, spilling tons of thick, black bunker fuel oil into the sea as she sank. Hundreds of men were in the water, and many of them became covered in oil or overcome by its fumes. Aragon's surviving lifeboats now ferried hundreds of survivors to the trawlers, where the VADs worked unceasingly and with great heroism to tend the many wounded. Other trawlers came out to assist, and the first trawler or trawlers returned to harbour for safety. The following day - New Years Eve - just as the rescue was called off, fleet auxiliary craft HMS Osmanieh also hit a mine in the area, taking another 197 soldiers and nurses down with her. 610 of the 2,700 passengers on board the HMS Aragon were lost at sea, including 25 of the new draft bound for the 5th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment. (Account of sinking courtesy of Wikipedia) ‘MY GOD, WE'VE GOT IT. NURSE'S PAINFUL STORY OF LOST TRANSPORT. A V.A.D. nurse who was on board one of the two vessels sunk in on December 30th, has sent home to her parents a graphic account of her experiences. She writes that the transport Aragon sailed from Marseilles wtih destroyers as escorts. The vessel spent five days at Christmas in harbour, where they had a "tophole" time. The vessel left harbour the following Sunday. Proceeding, the writer says: "No doubt we were watched then, but as we were so close to land we thought we were quite safe. At about 10.30 in the morning we could see land. I went down to my cabin, and the steward was attending to my trunk, which had got damaged on the journey, when at 10.55 there was a terrible crash, and the steward cried out: "My God, we've got it." Anyway, he got me outside, though I was not frightened, and gave me my lifebelt, and I ran up two flights of stairs to our boat stations, as we sisters had been detailed boats. In a minute we had orders to get into the boats, which we promptly did without any confusion. We were lowered, which was a shaky business, a doctor and a colonel accompanying us, and we got away from the ship as soon as we could. But by this time we could see the stern of the Aragon down in the water, and her bows in the air. The troops on board her were singing "By Jove, it took some doing." We picked up a lot of boys in our lifeboat off the rafts and when we were picked up we made for a trawler which was close by. Fortunately there several close at hand as we were so near land. In the meantime we looked at the Aragon, which was rapidly sinking. There were hundreds of boys in khaki on board her, and the sight I shall never forget. In 15 minutes she had completely gone — no sign her at all. Anyhow, we got into the trawler, and in another minute our destroyer was torpedoed right amidships. She went clean in half. She was close by, and had picked up hundreds of Tommies. They had to go down again, and to my mind that was the worst of all. The trawlers headed for land at once. All the sisters were saved, but there is heavy death roll. We had many troops on board.' Continuing, the writer adds: 'A most awful thing happened yesterday morning. Another ship was torpedoed in exactly the same place. She went down in five minutes. There 40 sisters on board, and they were all in the water. A good many, believe, drowned. I know they brought eight sisters into the mortuary of the hospital.’ Newspaper report courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918
Having no known grave, Ernest Wilson is commemorated on the Chatby Memorial. Research by Peter Gillings
Remembered on