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Devon County

Devonshire Rgt.

Directory Listings





Parish Records




War Memorials




by Phil Jennett



In Memory of



1991559, 7 Bomb Disposal Coy., Royal Engineers

who died age 34

on 27 March 1941

Son of James and Elizabeth Thompson, of Widnes, Lancashire; husband of Ellen Jane Thompson.

Remembered with honour



Born in December 1905, into the well known Thompson family of Pub landlords, Ernest was the fourth of the twelve children of James and Elizabeth Thompson (née Hunt).  Ernest’s father James had been born in Widnes in 1869 and had grown up in the Lugsdale area of Widnes where he lived with his parents Samuel and Jane.  At that time James’s  father was employed as a Tool-maker, but by the time that James was entering his teenage years he had taken a dramatic career change and had started to run the Victoria Vaults Beerhouse, located on Water Street in the Dock Area of Widnes that surrounded Spike Island. 
ernet thompson

Ernest Thompson in the uniform of the Royal Engineers

From the Widnes Weekly News April 1941

Within a year of being married, the couple had their first child when Jane was born in the June 1900, followed by James in September 1901 and then Elsie in 1904.  Sadly Elsie died in Infancy in 1905 aged 13 months, and was buried in what was to become the family plot in the Churchyard at St Luke’s Church in Farnworth.  Five months later Ernest himself was born, growing up in the social atmosphere of the popular George Hotel he was joined by a further four sisters when Mary was born in December 1907, Elizabeth in June 1909, Alice in May 1910 and Ada in March 1912.  Tragedy struck the family once again in 1912, when Ada died within twelve months of being born.  Determined to enjoy a large family, Anastasia was born in 1914, only to become the third of their children to die in infancy when she too failed to live long enough to reach her first birthday. 

Undeterred, by the deaths of three of their previous children, the couple  enjoyed the birth of John in 1916 and Josephine in 1918.  In early 1920, the couple would have their final child when William was born, but celebrations were short lived when Ernest’s father James died months later in July whilst still in his early 50’s.  Now aged fifteen, Ernest had been educated at the Widnes National School, which was located near to the George Hotel on Waterloo Road, and whilst his mother Elizabeth took over the running of the Hotel, Ernest gained his first employment , when he started work at the High Speed Alloy Company Limited, where he was to remain for seventeen years.  Tragedy was to continue to hit the family and in 1922, Ernest’s youngest brother William died, aged two years old. 


It was whilst working at High Speed Alloys that Ernest met Ellen Jane Worrall, who had originally been born in St Helens, and in late 1928 the couple married, and within two years a son, James was born.  With the death of his father in his younger years, Ernest took on more of an important role within the family, and in 1932 he gave away his younger sister Alice when on the 9th April 1932 she married Alexander Wright at St Ambrose Church.  Sadly, all was not well with his own marriage and in the late 1930’s Ernest and Ellen Jane separated.  Ernest who was now living at 72 St Mary’s Road, was aged 34 and was exempt from Military Service, but with the outbreak of war months earlier he volunteer for Military Service and on the 27th July 1940, Ernest travelled to Liverpool and enlisted in the Royal Engineers, whilst his brother-in-law Alexander would serve as an A.R.P. Warden in the Farnworth area during the blitz, being on duty the night that the houses in Windermere Avenue were flattened by an enemy parachute mine.


This page © Phil Jennett


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