A young life lost at Gallipoli

On a path close to the top of the steps that leads to the hidden and once-forgotten Wardsend Cemetery, there is a memorial which, among other members of the Hides family, includes the name of Ernest.  

In 1915 Ernest Hides was killed in Gallipoli, fighting with the 4th Battalion of the Australian Imperial Force. He was 23.

Ernest spent his teenage years as an apprentice printer and in 1913, at the age of 21, he left his home and his family for a new life in Australia.

We can only begin to imagine the feelings of Ernest and his parents when he left, wondering when or if they would see each other again.

When Ernest arrived in Australia he settled in Leichardt near Sydney, where he worked for a while as a printer.

The following year Ernest’s life, along with those of millions of others, was to change forever as the world went to war.

Ernest was quick to answer the call and in August 1914, two weeks after the start of the war, he enlisted with the 4th Battalion.

In a letter to his father, a soldier on the same ship as Ernest wrote that he thought they were sailing to Europe. It’s quite possible that Ernest thought that he would see his family again.

The letter talked of the initial excitement of the convoy setting sail and of seeing flying fish for the first time, quickly followed by the boredom and frustration of a long voyage but looking forward to some wild celebrations when it was all over.

However, in April 1915, after three months in Egypt, Ernest’s battalion arrived not on the Western Front but in Gallipoli.

In August of that year they took part in the famous Battle of Lone Pine.

Some time between August 6 and 9 he was killed in action and that’s where Ernest lies today, remembered in the War Cemetery at Johnston’s Jolly, where there is a special memorial to Ernest and 35 Australian casualties.

Ernest’s name appears not only there but also on the Australian War memorial in Canberra, the war memorial in Fulwood and at Wardsend Cemetery.

As far as we know he doesn’t have any surviving relatives but when I first told his story on the Wardsend Cemetery Facebook group, someone from Sheffield who now resides in Australia said they would think about him on Remembrance Day.

Little did we know then that she was actually related to another of the war dead remembered at Wardsend, William Smout, who was killed in France on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

To date there are 33 casualties of the Great War that we know of buried or remembered on family memorials at Wardsend, as well as four who died in World War Two.

As their names are made known and their stories told, an increasing number of descendants and relatives have contacted us.

Since 2014 we have held a Remembrance Service every year.

Together we will ensure that Ernest, William and all the others at Wardsend and around the world will never be forgotten.

Although very much a ‘work in progress’ you can find more about those buried and/or remembered at Wardsend on our website.

https://wardsendcemetery.wordpress.com/2017/11/10/world-war-one-and-wardsend/