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18354 Private Ernest Jackson Highley


Devonshire Regiment

1st July 1916 


Born in Walsden Lancashire in 1879. He was baptised on 26/10/1879.

His parents were John Highley(1853-1935) and

Mary Ann Bray Wills(1852-1941). They married in 1874.

Ernest had 4 brothers; Thomas Arthur(18/02/1875-13/01/1952), John Henry(1877-01/11/1914),

Charles William(1889- 22/06/1917) and

Richard(born in 1894). 

He also had 2 sisters; Mary Hannah(born in 1885) and Beatrice Annie(born in 1896).

In the 1881 Census,the family are recorded as living at Throstle Terrace,Todmorden Road,Walsden,Lancashire.

John was employed as a cotton weaver.

In the 1891 census the family are are at

55 Throstle Terrace,John is still a cotton weaver and

Ernest is employed as a cotton mill hand.   

In the 1901 census, the family had moved to

16 Throstle Terrace ,with John still being a cotton weaver and Ernest now a cotton mill labourer. 

In 1907 Ernest married Harriet Ann Hallawell

(13/11/1881-1974) and they had 2 girls,

Florence (born in 1908) and Edith (born in 1909).

In the 1911 census,Ernest and his family are recorded as now living at 395 Edenfield Road,Rochdale,Lancashire. Ernest is now employed as a cotton weaver. 

He enlisted in Halifax and his date of disembarkation into France was on 15/12/1915.

He was killed in action on 01/07/1916.

He was awarded the 1914-1915 Star,the 1914-1918 British War and Allied Victory medals.

Ernest' brothers also fought in the war;

8012 Private John Henry Highley 1st Battalion East Lancashire Regiment- died of his wounds that he received in action on 01/11/1914 at Romarin 107 Field Ambulance and is buried in Trois Arbres Cemetery, Steenwerck, Nord France.

Memorial reference II.I.36.

27557 Private Charles William Highley 15th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers- was killed in action on 22/06/1917

and was buried in Ramscappelle Road Military Cemetery,Nieuwpoort,Belgium. Memorial reference IV.A.11.

16076 Private Richard Highley 1st Battalion Devonshire Regiment- served in France from 28/07/1915 until his transfer to 'Z' Reserve Battalion on 12/03/1919. 

284171 Aircraftsman Thomas Arthur Highley-enlisted in RAF on 13/08/1918 until his discharge on 30/04/1920 after being transferred to the RAF reserve on 26/02/1919.

Todmorden & District News – Friday 28 July 1916


                                                        "Private E.J. Highley, Walsden

In a recent issue we reported the fact that unofficial news had been received of the death in action of Private Ernest Jackson Highley, of Sun Wood Walsden, who was formerly employed at Frith’s Mill, Dulesgate. Official confirmation of the news reached Mrs Highley on Saturday morning saying he was killed on the 1st July. He enlisted about twelve months ago in the Devonshires and was sent for training to Plymouth and Cornwall. He had his first and last leave last October, being allowed eight days away from Exeter. He expected he would have a further leave at Christmas and indeed wrote to that effect, but on December 15th he was sent to France. Shortly after his arrival there he was admitted into hospital suffering from a strain. He was in hospital two months being discharged in February, where he was sent to the firing line, where he has been ever since. Mrs Highley has received several letters from him, the last being on written on the 26th June.

Private Highley also had two brothers on active service, one of whom was killed in November 1914, at Armentieres and the other Private Richard Highley has been in France nine months and has been invalided home to England suffering from neuritis. He is in hospital in London. Mrs Highley has her younger brother, Private Ernest Helliwell in the 1/4th West Riding Regiment. He has been in France 17 months. He has not had a leave home during that time, though he was gassed last Christmas. Much sympathy is felt for Mrs Highley and her four young children.”

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