Ernest Wyatt Burnett

Timelines: Ribbon of Remembrance Ernest Wyatt Burnett
Announcement Date: October 15, 2018

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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Explore more memories from the ribbon

  • Captain Robert Murray

    Robert Henry Murray lived with his family lived at West Cottage, Richmond. He was educated at Richmond Grammar School, and attended Selwyn College, Cambridge – rowing in the college boat at the Henley Regatta immediately before the outbreak of war. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Yorkshire Regiment on 8th October 1914, but was quickly promoted to Captain on the 3rd of December 1914. Attached to the Royal Munster Fusiliers, he was Mentioned in Despatches while at Gallipoli. Captain Murray was killed while attending to a wounded man of his Company on the fire-step of his trench. Captain Murray fell in action on 7th July 1916 and is buried at Philosophe British Cemetery, Mazingarbe, Departement du Pas-de-Calais.  

  • Thomas William Richmond

    Submitted by Anthony Sidlow. Corporal Thomas Richmond (19039) served with 6th Battalion, the Yorkshire Regiment. He was born in Hunslet, Leeds in 1888, and was a Brewers labourer at Tetleys Brewery. Killed in Action on the 27 August 1917. Commemorated on the Tyne Cott memorial and also The Tetley Brewery, Leeds ‘Roll of Honour’.

  • Arthur Selwyn Morley

    Information submitted by Mrs Drury of Richmond. Arthur Selwyn Morley MC was one of nine children of a Weardale hill farmer who sold up in 1894 and moved to Houghton-le-spring, County Durham. Arthur ran with the Houghton and District Harriers. When war broke out Arthur and three of his five brothers joined up. His regiment was the Durham Light Infantry and he did his training at Bullswater Camp, Woking, Surrey when he was a Lance Corporal in 1914, before he proceeded to the Flanders trenches. On one of his precious leaves he married in haste, as many soldiers did who had seen the countless deaths and injuries and knew their own chances of survival were not good. On one occasion in the trenches Arthur took command of his company, being a temporary Second Lieutenant, when senior officers became casualties. He led several attacks on an enemy position and behaved with great coolness and courage until his battalion was relieved. For this conspicuous gallantry he was awarded the Military Cross, but only weeks later he was killed and never got the chance to see his daughter. His name is on the Menin Gate. His elder brother William had a son soon after Arthur’s death and named that son for Arthur.