680508 GNR. E. SUTTON. R.F.A.
Ernest Sutton was born in April 1898 in Penwortham and baptised at Preston Christ Church on 10 April. His father was Matthew Edward Sutton (b. 1873 in Preston), a railway signalman. His mother was Frances Dugmore (b. 1875 in Belfast). Frances was born out of wedlock to Georgiana Dugmore, a theatrical actress, and Haydn Corri, a professor of music. Georgiana and Frances came back to England and after her mother’s death Frances ended up in service with a family in Croston, where she married Matthew Sutton in 1895. The couple had four children: Fred (1896-1902), Ernest, Catherine (b. 1900) and Frances (b.1906). Frances died in 1906 presumably from complications associated with the birth of daughter Frances. In 1911, Matthew and Ernest were living with Matthew’s sister Susannah, at 7 Fitzroy Street, Preston. Ernest, then 13, had started work as a packer at the Wood Milne rubber works in Leyland. In 1914, Matthew remarried, to Mary Slater (b. 1873 in Preston) and the family moved to 28 Langton Street, Preston.
From his service number (680580) it seems likely that Ernest enlisted in May or June 1915, although he was underage having just turned 17. He joined the Royal Field Artillery and was posted to 286 Brigade, almost certainly “A” Battery. Ernest would have landed with his Brigade and 57th Division in France in February 1917.
Ernest died at home on 5 December 1918 (some records say 15 December but CWGC records 5 December and this is the date on his headstone). 286 Brigade were not demobilised until March or April 1919. I don’t have Ernest’s death certificate but he may have been wounded towards the end of the War and repatriated to die of his wounds at home, or he may have suffered from influenza or another illness. He was still only 20 years old when he died.
Service No: 680508
Date of Death: 05/12/1918
Regiment/Service: Royal Field Artillery, 286th Bde.
Cemetery/memorial reference: 716
Cemetery/Memorial: PENWORTHAM (ST. MARY) CHURCHYARD
Additional Information: Son of Matthew E. Sutton, of 28 Langton Street, Preston, and the late Frances Dugmore Sutton.