16910 PTE. E. STURZAKER. R.Sc.Fus.
Ernest Sturzaker was born in 1881 in Calder Vale, near Garstang. It appears he was born out of wedlock. His mother was Martha Elizabeth Sturzaker (b. 1858 in Nateby). Martha married Thomas Kellett (b. 1864 in Leyland) at Farington St Paul’s in 1888. The couple settled in Tardy Gate (Charnock Moss) where Thomas and Martha had a further five children: Mary (1888-1903), Alice (b. 1890), Maud (b. 1891), Henry (b. 1892) and William (b. 1895). Although Ernest and William were born 14 years apart, they were half brothers and in a cruel twist of fate would both die in the same place (Festubert) within a few days of each other in 1915.
In 1901, Ernest was working as a railway worker and boarding in Hesket, Cumberland, but in December that year he and Jane Alice Oram (b. 1881 in Blackburn) were married at Farington St. Paul’s. By 1911, Ernest and Jane were living in Blackburn and had a son, Henry (b. 1907). They had also had another son Wilfred who had died. Both Ernest and Jane were cotton weavers.
Ernest enlisted with the Royal Scots Fusiliers and was assigned service number 16910 and posted to 2nd Battalion. After training, Ernest was sent to join his Bn in France on 1 June 1915. He was dead a fortnight later.
2nd Bn Royal Scots Fusiliers was under the command of 21st Brigade in 7th Division. They were among the brigades that fought and were slaughtered at Festubert. Ernest was killed in action on 16 June. That morning they attempted an attack but there was confusion due to the narrow and crowded trenches. The enemy wire had not been destroyed by the artillery and the RSF were unable to make any headway. 51 officers and men from his Battalion were killed. Ernest was 34 years old.
His half-brother William Kellett was wounded in action close by on the same day and he died 8 days later.
In 1916, Ernest’s wife, Jane, remarried to William Lester Cotton, a widower from Blackburn.
Service No: 16910
Date of Death: 16/06/1915
Regiment/Service: Royal Scots Fusiliers, 2nd Bn.
Panel Reference: Panel 12 and 13.
Memorial: LE TOURET MEMORIAL