Ernest was born in 1879 to Edwin Magnall (FM006) and Mary Ann Jones (FM007).
The 1881 Census shows that Edwin was living with his parents at 14 Ainsworth Road in Radcliffe, LAN. I have been unable to find the family in the 1891 census but by the time of the 1901 Census they had moved to 35 Eton Hill Road in Radcliffe and Ernest was working as a warp dresser. He married Florence Aspey in 1897 (Bury 1897 Q3 8c 806) and they had a daughter, Lily, who was born in 1898 in Radcliffe.
On the 1st September 1914 Ernest was living at 48 Bright Street in Radcliffe when he signed up in Manchester for the RAMC (TF) for two years. Apparently he had already served 7 years with the RAMC and had been discharged. He was 34 years and 3 months old, 5′ 4 1/2″ tall’, and a 36″ chest. His service record (regimental number 354340) shows that he served as follows:
- 1st September 1914 enlisted at Manchester
- 1st Septeember 1914 to 28th February 1917 served at home in the UK
- 13th January 1915 promoted to the rank of Corporal
- promoted to Acting Lance Corporal (unpaid)
- 14th May 1915 promoted to Sergeant
- 17th April 1916 reduced to Private
- 3rd July 1916 granted furlough for farm work, supposedly until the 1st August
- 4th July 1916 rejoined unit as unfit for farm work!
- 10th February 1917 confirmed in rank as corporal in the 3rd East Lancashire Field Ambulance
- 1st March 1917 to 1st November 1918 served with the BEF
- 18th December 1917 to 27th December 1917 granted furlough (leave) to return home. He appears to have been working at a convalescent hospital in Eastbourne
- 6th March 1919 demobilized in Woking after 4 years and 187 days of service. He was a Corporal still in the 3rd East Lancashire Field Ambulance and had an injured knee with a 20% degree of disability. He was expecting to receive a weekly pension of 6 shillings from the 7th March 1919
The 3rd East Lancashire Field Ambulance was originally part of the East Lancashire Division (TF) which was redesignated the 42nd (East Lancashire) Infantry Division on the 25th May 1915.
Ernest was awarded the British War Medal (see below) and the Victory Medal.