Ernest George Lewis 1895-1915

Pte 1st Battalion Somerset Light Infantry (11th Infantry Brigade 4th Division)

Ernest Lewis was born in Bridgwater in April 1895, the son of Frederick Lewis and Harriet Rose Jarvis. In 1901 the family lived in a crowded court in Albert Street, his father working as a general labourer, his mother a charwoman. In 1911 at the age of 16 he was working as a haulier. The large family still lived in the overcrowded court, his two elder brothers worked in the brickyards. He had six younger brothers who were in school.

On the 9 September 1914 the Bridgwater Mercury reported that four Lewis brothers had signed up together. The 17 February saw an article printed on the family 'BRIDGWATER FAMILY'S FINE RECORD. FOUR BROTHERS WITH THE SOMERSETS AT THE FRONT'. On the 26 May the Mercury reported 'THREE CASUALTIES IN ONE FAMILY, 3 OF 4 MEMBER OF THE LEWIS FAMILY WHOSE PARENTS LIVE IN GLOUCESTER PL, BRIDGWATER ARE IN HOSPITAL'. Ernest was the only brother not injured at this time.

However he was gassed during the First Battle of Ypres and he died of enteric fever as a result of the poisoning in the Bridgwater Hospital on 27 October 1915, aged just 21. On the 3 November 1915 the Mercury reported 'BRIDGWATER SOILDIER'S DEATH IN HOSPITAL - INVALIDED HOME FROM THE FRONT'. The Report included photographs of the four brothers, Lce Cpl W. J. Lewis, SLI (BEF); Pte Ernest George Lewis (deceased); Lce Cpl E. F. M Lewis SLI (BEF) and Pte Harry Lewis, SLI (BEF). All three of the other brothers would be wounded in the next year in the Battle of the Somme.

At the time his parents lived in Gloucester Place, Friarn Street. He was then buried in the Wembdon Road Cemetery. His memorial bears the motto 'Safe unto the lord he gave his life for us all'.