Ernest Seekings in WW1

 

Ernest Seekings was born in 1898 at Needingworth. His father Robert and mother Betsey lived first at High St. and then at Chapel Close by 1911. He had an older brother Charlie, and a younger brother Herbert, who was killed in the war.

Ernest was a private in the 7th Battalion, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment), the same regiment as his friend William Martin Turner – they joined the army together, did their training together, but unfortunately William died at Dover before finishing his training.

The 7th Buffs served in France and Belgium from July 1915 until the Armistice. On September 28th 1917 the Battalion, though well in the rear, suffered severe casualties when bombed at night by an enemy aircraft – a savage blow immediately prior to going into the front line.

On October 11th 1917 the Battalion was positioned opposite Poelcapelle, north of Ypres. The front line consisted, not of well-constructed trenches, but of water and mud-filled shell holes for the lucky ones – the unlucky ones lay out in the open. By 4am on the 12th October the Buffs were ready to attack, their first objective was 800 yards away on the other side of the destroyed village. The advance began at 5.25am under a creeping barrage of artillery – 8 hours later they were still 100 yards short of their objective, and no further progress was made before the Buffs were relieved late on the 13th October. The severe fighting in appalling conditions, with the mud hindering movement and clogging up rifles preventing them being fired, left many casualties in the regiment.

British War Medal and Victory MedalPoppyErnest is listed as killed on the 14th October, so he was one of the wounded who died after the battle, or one of the missing, later confirmed killed. There were 4 officers and 52 men killed, 183 wounded, and 145 missing from this operation.

He is remembered at the Tyne Cot Memorial, Ypres and he received the Victory Medal and the British War Medal.


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