Private Ernest Webb



Ernest Webb was born on 10 May 1898 in Walthamstow, London, the third of at least seven children of general labourer Thomas Charles Webb and his wife Amelia (née Benstead). At the time of the 1911 Census he was living at 35 Linford Road, Walthamstow, with his parents and five siblings.

Webb was called-up to the army on 5 October 1916 and initially posted to the East Surrey Regiment, before being sent to the Derbyshire Yeomanry (probably the 2/1st Regiment, a cyclist unit based in the Canterbury area).

Webb remained with his regiment in the UK until 12 September 1918, when he and 55 other men of the regiment were compulsorily transferred to the Corps of Hussars (No.81239) and posted to the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment, which was then serving in France as corps cyclist regiment to V Corps. They embarked at Folkestone for Boulogne that day, joining the regiment in the field six days later.

The North Irish Horse cyclists saw much action during the final months of the war, and Webb was one of the many wounded. Based on the record of those reported wounded at the same time, this may have occurred on 3 November 1918 near the St Quentin Canal, when the war diary of E Squadron reported that fifteen other ranks had been gassed. It appears that the injury was not severe, however, and Webb was able to return to his unit later that year or in early 1919.

Webb was one of a number of men of the regiment who were later transferred to the Army Cyclist Corps (No.14827). This probably took place on 7 June 1919, when he and the others were posted to the IV Corps Cyclist Battalion for service in the Army of Occupation on the Rhine.

He returned to the UK later that year and on 28 November was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.

Webb married Florence Shepherd in the St Mary the Virgin Church, Walthamstow, on 27 July 1924. The 1939 Register shows them living at 35 Linford Road, Ernest working as a general builder's labourer. He died on 25 January 1963.


Webb (third from left) with Derbyshire Yeomanry, 1916-18


Webb (seated far right) with men of the Derbyshire Yeomanry and Nottinghamshire Yeomanry, 1916-18


Derbyshire Yeomanry, 1916-18


Webb (seated second from right) with North Irish Horse at Vingacourt, December 1918 to June 1919


Discharge certificate


I am grateful to Danielle Lobban for making available the above images of her great-grandfather and his pals in the Derbyshire Yeomanry and the North Irish Horse. Another version of the last image can be seen here.