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The Men Who Died



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or training. On 8 April 1916 it was renamed 7th Reserve Battalion and moved to Romsey.  On 1 September 1916, it was combined with the 5th Reserve Battalion. Frederick was wounded in France and was later transferred to the Labour Corps.

The Labour Corps were formed in January 1917 and grew to some 389,900 men (more than 10% of the total size of the Army) by the Armistice. Of this total, around 175,000 were working in the United Kingdom and the rest in the theatres of war. They differed from normal infantry in that they would be composed of a mixture of men who were experienced with picks and shovels (i.e. miners, road men, etc.,) and some who had skilled trades (smiths, carpenters, joiners, bricklayers, masons, tinsmiths, engine drivers and fitters).

Frederick died of pneumonia at Brecon Military Hospital March 15th, 1918 aged 37. He was buried in Brecon Cemetery with full military honours. On his memorial are the words:

In loving memory of my beloved husband Pvt Frederick

Alfred Whitcher,

son of Lucy Lawrence (Bashley)

Ernest was born in May, 1883 in Clun, Shropshire to Ann Elizabeth Whittall who was a domestic servant around that time. By 1891 Ernest is living with his great aunt, his Grandfather's sister, Hannah Brick a widowed farmer in Lydbury, Shrophire. By the time he is 18, in 1901, Ernest is a servant, a wagoner on a farm, although still in Shropshire. Ten years later, in 1911, he is boarding at a different farm in the area, working as a farm labourer.

Ernest enlisted with the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry in October 1914 (service no. 2503), but was discharged a month later as being unfit for service. He still lived at Aston on Clun, Shropshire. He was later living in Beguildy and enlisted at Knighton in the Montgomery Yeomanry which was a mounted arm of the part time Territorial Force established in 1908. The Montgomeryshire Yeomanry were a Battalion of the Household Cavalry and Cavalry of the Line. Ernest did not serve abroad. It is likely that Ernest served with the 3/1st Battalion which was a third line training unit and moved to Brecon in June 1915. He died in the Military Hospital in Brecon.

Private Ernest Whittall

Montgomeryshire Yeomanry, service no. 2935

Died February 25th, 1916, aged 33

Buried at Brecon Cemetery