Private Ernest Gravill

1/6th Battalion Durham Light Infantry

Private Ernest Gravill was born in 1899 in Epworth, Lincolnshire. He was the son of Herbert and Jenny Gravill and one of a family of three, having one older brother, Arthur, who was also killed in the war and a sister Olive. The 1911 census records the family as living in Chapel Street, Epworth, where Ernest’s father, Herbert, was working as a farm labourer.

Ernest enlisted into the 1/6th Battalion Durham Light Infantry in Lincoln. At the time of his enlistment, the family were living at Bottesford Moor and he was a resident of Scunthorpe. The Battalion was stationed initially at Auckland, Ravensworth Park and Gateshead before being mobilised and assigned to the 151st Infantry Brigade, attached to the 50th (Northumbrian) Division. After mobilisation, the Battalion was engaged in various actions on the Western Front and in 1917, took part in the First Battle of the Scarpe; Capture of Wancourt Ridge; Second Battle of the Scarpe and the Second Battle of Passchendaele. In May1918 they fought in the Battle of St Quentin; Actions at the Somme Crossings; Battle of Rosieres; Battle of Estaires; and the Battle of Hazebrouck. Following this, the Battalion was sent to a quieter sector to rest and rebuild following their casualties in March and April, but became embroiled in the Battle of Aisne.

On the evening of the 26th May, the Battalion was informed that the enemy was going to attack at 4 a.m. the next day. Promptly, at 1 a.m. on the 27th a barrage came down. The enemy flooded the whole area to a depth of 3000m with high explosive, shrapnel, and gas shells. The Battalion had been told to make a stand on a wooded hill but it was already in German hands. As the Battalion retreated under machine gun fire, it was reduced to a handful of wounded men.

Private Ernest Gravill was killed in action on the 31st May 1918 during the Battle of Aisne.

Remembered with Honour
Soissons Memorial, Aisne, France.