Ernest Magnall was born on the 19th December 1895 to James William Magnall (FM024) and Annie nee Pounder (FM239). At the time of the 1901 Census he was living with his father at 19 Cobden Street in Burnley. His mother and younger brother, William, were visiting someone else.

The 1911 Census shows that Ernest was 15 years old living at home at 97 Waterbarn Street in Burnley with his father and younger brother, Willie. He was working as a weaver. Waterbarn Street consisted of small through-terrace houses which are still there today.

After Ernest left school he continued his education through night school and got a job as a book keeper at Preston’s Rylands Street cotton mill. He also attended Mount Zion Primitive Methodist Church on Colne Road which was just around the corner from Rylands Street.

Ernest working at mill before the war – tall person in centre

During the Great War Ernest signed up for active service in January 1916 when 21 years old. Whilst he was a stretcher bearer on the Somme he was wounded. He then fought at Passchendale. It was on the 31st July 1917 that they went “over the top” and he was wounded in the right thigh, right elbow and hand, and was taken prisoner by the Germans. The leg wound was serious and resulted in him having to wear an “iron” on his leg for the rest of his life. He then spent some time as a PoW in Germany.

Letter to Ernest’s father notifying him that Ernest was a POW

Ernest features in a book called “Other Ranks” written by his commanding officer, W.V.Tilsley, and this has been republished.

After the War Ernest became manager of Stuttard’s cotton mill in Burnley and the President of the St George’s Society. He lived on Brunshaw Road for a time.

Ernest married Florence (Florrie) Miles in 1922 and they lived at first at 16 Ford Street, Burnley before moving to 301 Briercliffe Road in Burnley. Florrie “was a lovely lady” whose main interests were cooking, baking, embroidery and needlework. Ernest and Florrie adopted a boy called Harry who went to university and became a chemistry teacher (which is what I also did!). Harry read “Other Ranks” when he was a teenager.

Many thanks to Harry and to Diane James for helping with information.

Other Ranks written by W.V.Tilsley with an introduction by Edmund Blunden.
Published by Cobden Sanderson, 1 Montague Street, London.
Dedicated to Ernest Magnall who lived and Charles O’Neill who died.

If anyone can tell me where I may obtain a copy of this book I would be very interested in reading it.

[Last updated 07 Dec 2003]