Private Ernest Dowell, 16558

  • Batt - 2
  • Unit - Leicestershire Regiment
  • Section -
  • Date of Birth - 04/11/1880
  • Died - 17/08/1915
  • Age - 34

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Source: Michael Doyle Their Name Liveth For Evermore: The Great War Roll of Honour for Leicestershire and Rutland.
He was the son of Ada Lucas Ross, a laundress born on the 2nd June 1861 in Lutterworth, Leicestershire. Ernest was born on the 4th November 1880 in Lutterworth, he had one sibling, Minnie, born 1878 in Ullesthorpe, Leicestershire, in April 1881 the family home was at Ullesthorpe. In the 2nd quarter of 1887 Ernest’s mother married James Dowell in the Leicester district. In April 1891 Ernest was a schoolboy and was residing in the family home at Edward Road, Knighton, Leicester, together with his step father James Dowell, a bricklayer’s labourer, born on the 29th March 1857 in Markfield, Leicestershire, his mother, and sibling, James Dowell a schoolboy, born in the 1st quarter of 1883 in Leicester, and his half-blood siblings, Nellie, born 1888 in Leicester and George Albert, born 1891 in Clarendon Park, Leicester. Ernest and his full blood sibling were now using the surname of Dowell. In March 1901 Ernest was employed as a postman and was residing in the family home at 64, St. Leonard’s Road, Leicester, together with his stepfather, a bricklayer’s labourer, his mother and sibling James an apprentice cigar maker, and half-blood siblings, Nellie, George, Frank, born 1893 and Harold, born on the 14th January 1896, the latter two siblings were both born in Leicester. In April 1911 Ernest was absent from the family home at 64, St. Leonard’s Road, Leicester, residing there was his step father, a bricklayer’s labourer, his mother and half-blood siblings Frank, a shoe trade worker and Harold, a shoe trade worker, Ernest was employed as a postman and was residing in the family home at Main Street, Markfield, together with his wife Violet Dowell (nee Money, married on the 10th May 1905 in The Martyrs Church, Leicester), born 1878 in Stanton, Derbyshire and their children, Beatrice Violet, born on the 6th December 1906 in Clarendon Park, Leicester, Doris Money, born on the 21st January 1909 and Audrey Margaret, born on the 4th January 1910, the latter two children were both born in Markfield. Ernest and Violet had another child, William Ernest George born on the 24th September 1913 in Leicester. Ernest’s widow was awarded a weekly Army Pension for herself and her four children of twenty-five shillings, to commence on the 6th March 1916.
He was born Ernest Ross in Lutterworth, the son of Ada Lucas Ross, with whom he and his sister Minnie lived in Ullesthorpe, he also had another full blood sibling, James Dowell who was born in 1883 in Leicester. When Ernest was seven years old, his mother married James Dowell of Markfield and together they had five more children. Ernest his sister and brother all took the name Dowell.
On the afternoon of Sunday, 19th September 1915, a muffled peal was rung on the bells of St Michael’s Church, Markfield in his memory.
Ernest’s Army enlistment documents do not survive, all that is known of his military service is that he enlisted into the Leicestershire Regiment, being allotted the service number 16558, and was posted as a Private to that Regiment’s Depot for training, subsequently being posted to the 2nd Battalion, and it was with this Battalion that he first entered the theatre of war in France on the 27th May 1915.
Nothing further is known of his military service until he was officially recorded as being killed in action on the 17th August 1915, while serving with the 2nd Battalion Leicestershire Regiment. An entry in the Battalion’s War Diary dated the 16th August 1915 refers to Ernest by name. He was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.
The War Diary records: 16 Aug-15 - The Battalion left LA GORGUE at 7.00pm and relieved the 2nd BLACK WATCH in B sub section in IND. 4., the GARWHAL Brigade relieving the BAREILLY Brigade in this sector. The sub section extended from FAUQISSART – AUBERS ROAD to a point 750 yards South of it. Private DOWELLS was killed during the night. Major E. P. RIDDELL, RIFLE BRIGADE and Major L.L. WHEATLEY D.S.O. ARGYLE AND SUTHERLAND HIGHLANDERS were attached for instructional purposes. The trenches were occupied as follows, firing line “A” Company (Captain W. C. WILSON), “B” Company (2nd Lieutenant D. SUTHERLAND) Support trenches, ½ “C” Company (2nd Lieutenant H. H. PHILLIPS) Reserves, “D” Company (2nd Lieutenant PICKIN) in ROAD BEND POST and ½ “C” Company (Captain D. L. WEIR) in WANGERIE POST.
On Saturday, August, 21st, 1915 The Leicester Daily Post published the following article under the heading. “LEICESTERSHIRE AND THE WAR.” – LOCAL CASUALTIES. – Information was received yesterday that Pte. W. DOWELL, of Markfield, was killed on Tuesday while performing duties in the trenches “somewhere in France.” He had received a letter from his wife, enclosing photographs of herself and four children, only a few hours previously. Private Dowell had been at Markfield for some years, and enlisted soon after war broke out. He was widely respected.
On Wednesday September 8th, 1915 The Leicester Daily Post published the following article under the heading. “LEICESTERSHIRE AND THE WAR.” – LOCAL CASUALTIES. – Pte. E. DOWELL, aged 34, of Markfield, was killed in action somewhere in France, on August 17th. He leaves a wife and four young children.
On Wednesday, October 27th,1915 The Leicester Daily Post published the following article under the heading. “LEICESTER’S KILLED IN ACTION.” – (A photograph accompanied the article) – Pte. E. DOWELL, of Markfield, killed in August. Leaves a wife and four children.

Source: Leicestershire War Memorials Project.
Coalville Times article - Friday August 27th, 1915


Mrs Dowell received a letter on Friday morning informing her that her husband (Pte. W. Dowell) had been killed while performing his postal duties “somewhere in France” on Tuesday afternoon. Photographs of his wife and four children, received that morning, were found in his pocket. Pte. Dowell was for some years at Markfield, and was very much respected.

Coalville Times article - Friday September 10th, 1915


That a muffled peal was rung on the bells at the Markfield Parish Church, on Sunday afternoon in memory of Pte. E. Dowell, who was killed in action last month?

Research undertaken and submitted by Andy Murby 7/10/2017

Leicestershire Project Findings
  • Conflict - World War I
  • Burial Place - Ii D 7, Rue-du-bacquerot No.1 Military Cemetery, Laventie
  • Other Memorials - Markfield Centenary War Memorial
Research from Michael Doyle's Their Name Liveth For Evermore
  • Unit - Leicestershire Regiment
  • Cause of death - KILLED IN ACTION
  • Burial Commemoration - Rue-du-Bacquerot No.1 Mil. Cem., Laventie, France
  • Born - Lutterworth, Leicestershire
  • Enlisted - Coalville, Leicestershire
  • Place of Residence - Main Street, Markfield, Leicestershire, England
  • Memorial - MARKFIELD MEM., LEICS

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