Ernest William Frost Hammond

Rank Captain
Service No Unknown
Date of Death 03/03/1917
Age 27
Regiment/Service Honourable Artillery Company
Memorial Arras Memorial. This commemorates almost 35,000 servicemen from the United Memorial Kingdom, South Africa and New Zealand who died in the Arras sector between the spring of 1916 and 7 August 1918, the eve of the Advance to Victory, and have no known grave. The most conspicuous events of this period were the Arras offensive of April-May 1917, and the German attack in the spring of 1918.

 

Ernest was born on 1st July 1889 in Islington, to Alfred (1860-1905) and Jane Agnes Hammond nee Taylor (1861-1959), who were married at St Saviour's, Brixton on 19th August 1886. He had an older brother, Herbert (1887-1972), and a younger sister, Lucy Phyllis (1893-1989).

At the time of the 1901 Census, the family were living at 16 Tufnell Park Road in Islington. His father’s occupation is solicitor. By the time of the 1911 Census, the family were living with two servants at 40 Redbourne Avenue, Finchley. Jane is recorded as a widow who had given birth to five children of whom only three were living. Herbert, aged 23, is listed as a law student, Ernest is unmarried and working as a Land Surveyor’s Assistant and Lucy is listed as a scholar. The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyor’s Yearbook reveals that he was working for Mr Leslie Raymond of Golders Green before the war and that he was a professional associate.

He enrolled with the HAC, almost certainly as a member of the Territorials, on 9th November 1911. His enlistment records state that his height was 5ft 11 in, his address was 5 Dollis Road Finchley and that he was attached to No 4 battery or company.

At the outbreak of war in August 1914, he would, as a member of the HAC, have been called to active duty. The London Gazette of 31st October 1914 states that he was to be a temporary Second Lieutenant in the Infantry and yet the edition of 1st December 1914 states that the appointment was cancelled. On 16th August 1915 he did become a Second Lieutenant. He was mentioned in dispatches (someone whose name appears in an official report written by a superior officer and sent to the high command, in which is described his gallant action in the face of the enemy) on three occasions: on 8th October 1915, on 16th September 1916 and on 1st October 1916.

On 30th October 1915, Ernest was awarded the Military Cross in recognition of his: “conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during a bomb fight at Sanctuary Wood on 30th September 1915. Although severely wounded in the right side during the afternoon and unable to use his right arm, he remained at the front, using his left arm, till after night-fall, when his wound compelled him to retire.” This action was part of the Battle of Loos, which saw the first British use of poison gas and led to the replacement of Sir John French by Douglas Haig as Commander of the British Expeditionary Force.  

Ernest was killed in action on 3 May 1917 at Arras, probably in the second attack on Bullecourt, which took place on that day. At the time of his death, his widowed mother was living at 13, Forres Gardens, Golders Green and his own address was 5 Dollis Road, Finchley. He left to his mother an estate of £214 17s 7d.

On 21st September 2007, his medals were sold for £3,200. The catalogue entry being: “A fine Great War ‘Sanctuary Wood’ M.C. group of four awarded to Second Lieutenant E. W. F. Hammond, Honourable Artillery Company Military Cross, G.V.R., unnamed as issued; 1914 Star (676 L. Cpl., H.A.C.); British War and Victory Medals, with Mentioned in Dispatches oak leaf (2. Lieut.); memorial plaque (Ernest William Frost Hammond) nearly extremely fine or better.”