Quorn WW1 Roll of Honour - Ernest Harold Bonner
Died 9th September 1917, aged 20
Villers-Faucon, the Somme, France
Ernest was the only son of John and Alice Bonner. The family, including Ernest’s three sisters, lived at what is now 42 Leicester Road, a cottage near to Wright’s factory. John Bonner worked at Mountsorrel Quarry, but all four of his children worked at Wright’s. Ernest was a weaver until he enlisted into the Cheshire Regiment at the age of 18, in December 1915. He was just a lad, only 5 foot 4 inches tall, with a chest measurement of 30 inches, weighing a little over 7˝ stones.
Ernest was on the Somme in the late summer of 1917. He was commended for gallantry whilst on patrol duty, on 19th August, but then tragically he was killed in action three weeks later on 9th September. His body was buried at the nearby Villers-Faucon Cemetery.
Quorn Parish Magazine for October 1917 recorded Ernest’s death:
“We regret to state that Ernest Bonner was killed by a trench mortar on Friday, September 14th and we assure his parents of our sympathy.”
The date in the magazine is 5 days later to that in Commonwealth War Graves Commission records and the Book of Remembrance in Quorn Church, but this is not unusual and many dates were reported inaccurately.
The family had more to contend with, when only three months later Ernest’s brother-in-law, (his sister Alice’s husband), Ezra Wykes was killed in action, and then a month after that, Ernest’s father John died aged 66.
Ernest’s parents were buried in the Baptist Churchyard and the names of their son and son-in-law was added ‘in memoriam’ to the family gravestone. The inscription is now difficult to read, but says:
“John Bonner died Jan 20th 1918 aged 66 years. Alice Ann Bonner wife of the above died March 30th 1931 aged 79 years. Ernest Harold Bonner only son of the above killed in action in France Sept 9th 1917 Aged 20 years. Ezra Wykes son-in-law of the above died of wounds in France Dec 4th 1917 aged 29 years.”
1) A newspaper photograph of Ernest Bonner.
2) This brass plaque hangs in the Baptist Church on Meeting Street in Quorn. It is in memory of Ernest, his brother in law Ezra Wykes and Harold Lockwood.
3) The row of cottages on Leicester Road where Ernest and his family lived. They occupied number 42, the middle one.
All three cottages suffered war deaths:
- Julia Collington lived at no 40 (on the left with the blue door) and lost her husband John in 1915.
- The Willdays lived at no 44 - John Willday died there in 1919 as a result of his suffering in the war, and Alice Barrett (nee Willday) returned there to live after her husband Charles was killed just a few months before Ernest.