Edward and Emily Thompson, who were both teachers at East Haddon school, had three
children, all born in East Haddon: Ernest Edward (b.17/1/1884) the eldest, his brother
William and his sister Emily.
Ernest went to St John’s College, Cambridge, in October 1903 at the age of 19. He
was a member of the debating society, and the chess club in which he served as secretary
and vice president.
Throughout his life he was a keen sportsman, playing cricket for Northampton County
and also for St John’s college Cambridge.
In September 1906, after graduating from Cambridge, Ernest became a teacher at Banham
Grammar School. Here he stayed until 1909 when Banham School merged with Thetford
In July 1914 Ernest became Headmaster of Diss secondary School.
By May 1917 Ernest was in the Artist’s Rifles Officer training Corps. On 11 March
1918 with his training complete, he became a second lieutenant in the Royal Garrison
On 26th September 1918 he joined the 228th Battery of the Royal Garrison Artillery
in France. His job as a second lieutenant was to command a crew of ten gunners allocated
to one of the six six inch howitzers in the battery. They were often the target of
heavy German fire.
On 16th October, having been continuously in action since the 3rd October, Ernest
was killed by enemy fire whilst in action near the northern French town of Le Cateau.
Five members of the battery were standing round the centre pole of a small dug out
in the bank of a road near the battery. A shell exploded in the road and a piece
of shrapnel struck Ernest in the head, and he was killed instantly.
Ernest had been in France for just 3 weeks when he was killed.
Besides East Haddon war memorial, Ernest is also commemorated at St John’s College
Cambridge, on Diss War memorial, and on his grave in Maurois Communal cemetery in
Click here to see a selection of pictures relating to Ernest