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War Memorials



In Memory of
ERNEST ORCHARD
Private 28027
2nd Battalion Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby) Regiment
Who died on Wednesday, 9th August 1915
Age 18

No Known Grave
Panel 39 & 41
Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing, Ypres, Belgium

Commemorated in Perpetuity
by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission
&
Remembered with Honour
Menin Gate

The Menin Gate, Ypres, Belgium1

Ernest Orchard was born in Beeston, Notts in 18972, the second eldest surviving son of Joseph Albert & Edith Annie (née Lawton) Orchard.

By 1901, Joseph Albert (b. Nottingham, 1871) was working as a lace threader, while his wife (b. c1869, Sibthorpe, Notts) worked as a lace curtain machinist. Their six children, including the four-year-old Ernest, appear to be cared for by their aunt, Hannah Peach, while their mother worked, all living at their home, together with a boarder, at 92 Upper Regent Street, Beeston3. By 1911, the family had moved to 30/32 William Street, Beeston with seven of their 11 surviving children still at home. Joseph Albert was working as a foundry labourer and Ernest, now aged 14, had started work as a carrier4.

Ernest responded to the call at the very beginning of the War, enlisting in the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, before being transferred to the 2nd Battalion Sherwood Foresters. Part of the regiment's regular Army, 2nd Battalion was based in Sheffield at the outbreak of war and had moved to Cambridge before landing in France on 11th September 1914. There it had immediately become involved in bitter fighting in the Battle of the Aisne, as part of 71st Brigade in 6th Division5. By the time that Private Orchard joining the battalion in France on 28 April 1915,after basic training in England, the Western Front had developed the trench warfare that has become the terrible defining feature that was the continue for most of the remainder of the war.

Private Ernest Orchard was killed on 9th August 1915. Although no war diaries appear to survive for the Battalion at that time6, it seems likely that he fell during the continuing fighting in the Ypres Salient, probably during the battle which resulted in Hooge being retaken by the British. He is remembered on the Menin Gate Memorial at Ypres, as one of the large number of casualties from the Salient who were never identified

Back in Beeston, the sorrow of his family who received the tragic news, was unlikely to be eased by the sad routine that followed - the payment of his backpay of 2 2s 8d, a gratuity payment of 3 and the receipt of his medals - the British and Victory Medals and the 1915 Star - after the war6.


Footnotes
1The photograph of the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing is from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website. (http://www.cwgc.org)
2>He was registered as \'Ernest Frederick\', in Basford Registration District, 7b 223
31901 Census : Piece 3153 Folio 119 - 92 Upper Regent Street, Beeston
41911 Census : Piece 20432 RD429 SD3 ED7 Schedule 18 - 30/32 William Street, Beeston. The family's address was recorded as 22 Alpine Cottages, William Street, Beeston in the records of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
5Details of this phase of the war are at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Battle_of_the_Aisne
6The surviving diaries for 2nd Battalion start on 2nd November, 1915. By this date the Battalion was at St Jean, east of Ypres and was recording that, after heavy rain, the trenches were flooded and falling in and were 'worse than any we have yet experienced'.
6Army Registers of Soldiers' Effect, 1901-1928. WW1 Service Medal & Award Rolls.

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