Photograph of Ernest in 'Hospital Blues' courtesy of great-niece Joyce Mann, full photograph at bottom of page.
Killed in Action on Tuesday, 8th October 1918, age 21.
Buried in Grave A. 3. at Ramicourt British Cemetery, Aisne, France.
2nd Bn., Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regt.). 71st Brigade of 6th Division.
Formerly 25384 1st Bn., Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regt.).
Son of Eliza Wall, of 1, Tudor St., Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Tipton, Resident: Unknown.
First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.
Commemorated on the Park Chapel, and Mission Church memorials.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.
Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/182618/
Birth of Ernest Wall registered March quarter 1897 in Dudley.
Tudor Street, Tipton, Staffs.
Robert Wall (29, Bricklayer's Labourer, born Dudley), his wife Eliza (28, born Tipton), and their 2 children: Ernest (4, born Tipton), Fanny (10 months, born Tipton).
1 Tudor Street, Tipton, Staffs.
Robert Wall (40, Stated - Can't Work, born Birmingham), his wife Eliza (40, born Dudley Port), and their 4 surviving children of 9: Ernest (14, Labourer in Nut and Bolt Works, born Dudley Port), Fanny (10, School, born Dudley Port), Thomas (6, School, born Dudley Port), and Samuel (2, born Dudley Port).
Ernest Wall's name appears on the Walsall Roll of Honour as: "Wall, E. 23584, Pte. Sherwood Foresters, died December 1918". As the Wall family were long-term residents of Tudor Street, Tipton, and Ernest was unmarried, there seems to be no obvious reason for this entry.
In July 1919 Ernest's mother, Eliza, received his outstanding army pay and allowances of £6/14/0d (6 pounds and 14 shillings) and also his War Gratuity of £21/10/0d (21 pounds and 10 shillings). His date of death and the value of his War Gratuity suggest that he enlisted in approximately August 1914.
Ernest is shown as first serving with the 1st Battalion, Sherwood Foresters, but he did not serve abroad before 1916. This seems an unusually long period of time after enlistment, but it seems that he enlisted when 17 years old, and the minimum age to serve abroad at that time was 19 years. Many boys served abroad under-age, but this would depend on the army not knowing their true age.
Ernest's mother, Mrs Eliza Wall, was granted a Dependant's Pension of 11/0d (11 shillings) per week, effective from 1st July 1919. This was granted under article 21 of the Pensions legislation - awarded when the soldier's mother had been widowed, as Eliza had been in 1916.
After the Allied victory at the Battle of Amiens on August 8th 1918, the tide had turned decisively. So began ‘The Hundred Days’, a series of Allied offensives which forced the enemy back over ground he had gained in 1914. The Hindenburg Line – more of a defensive system than a line – was finally breached on September 29th when the men of the Staffordshire Brigade forced a crossing of the St. Quentin Canal at Riqueval Bridge.
On October 4th, the 2nd Battalion Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby) Regiment (2/SF) crossed the canal and the Hindenburg Line and went into bivouac near Magny-la-Fosse. On the evening of October 6th they moved into the front line just south of Ramicourt. This was in the sunken road from Ramicourt to Sequehart, the approximate position of Ramicourt Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery where Ernest is buried.
Their turn in driving the advance was to begin at dawn on October 8th, driving roughly east-north-east in the direction of Bohain. Their objective was a 2-mile advance to the sunken road between Brancourt and Fresnoy-le-Grand which lay a short distance beyond the crest of Doon Hill. The advance was to pass between Doon Mill and Champignons Copse, but the responsibility to capture these points belonged to the flanking units.
The advance began at 5.15am following a powerful artillery barrage. Despite German artillery response, the German outpost line gave little trouble and resulted in some prisoners. The advance continued but was held up by resistance from Doon Mill which should have been taken by the flanking Norfolks. This, and a strongpoint on the right (probably Champignons Copse), was taken by 2/SF resulting in almost 200 prisoners.
This opened the way for the advance to continue to the top of Doon Hill which was taken without great difficulty. However as soon as 2/SF advanced beyond the crest towards the sunken road objective, 2 unsuppressed German artillery batteries targeted them with some accuracy. This caused the attack to stall and to retreat in some disarray. The line re-formed but was unable to advance beyond the crest and here 2/SF dug in and consolidated their advance of around 2 miles.
2/SF had taken 5 German officers and 450 men prisoner, and captured 6 field guns and 12 machine guns. This came at a price, with 2 officers and 10 men of the 2/SF shown as killed on October 8th, and another 4 men dying of wounds on the next day. Among the men killed on October 8th was Ernest Wall who is buried at Ramicourt British Cemetery.
The following trench map extract shows the start point as red line a – a, and the sunken lane objective as red line b – b. Ramicourt British Cemetery position is marked ‘CWGC’, and the significant points of Doon Mill, Champignons Copse, and Doon Hill Copse on the summit of Doon Hill are all highlighted.
Scroll left-right for greater detail.
Photograph of Ernest in 'Hospital Blues' courtesy of great-niece Joyce Mann.