Gerald Burnett visited the museum to relate the story of his grandfather Ernest Wyatt Burnett.
My Grandfather, Ernest Wyatt Burnett was born in Chudleigh, Devonshire, in 1886. After minimal schooling and several agricultural jobs, Ernest moved to London and became a chauffeur with various employers including Thomas Tilling. He spent the pre-war years driving around Great Britain with American tourists and contemporary industrialists such as Tommy Lipton of tea fame.
Ernest enlisted with the Royal Army Service Corps, Mechanical Transport Branch, in April 1915 and became a Staff Car driver.
In 1915, the Government appointed five official Western Front War Correspondents, Philip Gibbs, Percival Phillips, H. Perry Robinson, W. Beach Thomas and Herbert Russell. Ernest was assigned to be their driver, a position he held until the end of the war.
Ernest was transferred to the Reserve in February 1919. Alongside his ‘Pip, Squeak and Wilfred’ decorations he was awarded a Silver Medal for Merit by Nicholas I, King of Montenegro.
During WW2, Ernest served with the Home Guard at Balcombe Place, his Sussex home, where he was chauffeur to Lady Gertrude Denman who was President of the Women’s Institute and Honorary Director of The Women’s Land Army.
My Grandfather was one of the lucky ones. He served his country, survived two World Wars, and lived a full and interesting life.
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Marion Moverley, a Richmond resident, provided us with information about her grandmother, Evelyn Fletcher. My grandmother was called Evelyn Fletcher and born in 1898 in Halifax. She met my grandfather Tom Stocks who was born in 1897 in Bradford, and they married in 1920. They both played a part in the War. Tom joined up, Evelyn worked in munition factories. The photograph shows a munitions factory in the Bradford/Halifax district, with two figures picked out by ‘x’ marks in biro. The girl marked on the left appears to be Evelyn and the one on the right is probably her sister, Lizzie Fletcher.
Colin Parker’s Grandfather, Earnest Tewson A/Cpl 13277 joined the Yorkshire regiment in Eston. He was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal, 1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal. This was for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He held onto his post, after his platoon commander had been killed, and only withdrew when the situation was secure, and all his ammunition and bombs had been expanded, he saved the whole line from been turned. After the war, Earnest worked at Dorman Long, married Ava (Abby), and went on to have two children Elsie and Lily (Mr Parker’s mother), and lived in Grangetown, near Eston.
Submitted by Robert Amis. Captain Henry Amis (Robert’s grandfather) was commissioned into the 5th Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment as a 2nd Lieutenant on 12 March 1915, Henry Amis transferred to the Royal Flying Corps. Family legend has it that 2Lt Amis was prone to crashing, which may account for his transfer back to the Yorkshire Regiment. The then Captain Amis was again serving with the 5th Battalion when on 28 October 1917 he was wounded and evacuated, suffering from the effects of mustard gas. Once he had recovered, he returned to the front line where he faced Germany’s final throw of the dice, the so called ‘Kaiser’s battle’ which was unleashed on 21 March 1918. Henry and the 5th battalion were in the thick of the fighting; trying to hold back the German advance. On 27 May 1918 he, along with 24 other officers and 638 Other Ranks, was declared missing. Amongst the papers donated to the museum by Robert is the diary of Captain Amis’ girlfriend, Dorothy Beckton. On 10 June 1918 she wrote… ‘Telegram saying my H G missing. I felt a sort of stunned at first…A horrible time of despondency, but there is really no need. I think my darling boy is almost sure to be a prisoner in Germany. It is rather heavy waiting but as soon as I can hear that he is safe, will be alright. And we shall be able to make up afterwards. I hope they will treat the dear old…