Friday, 5 October 2012

Can anyone reading this help trace Ern?

Where is he now? Ern West is pictured on the left
with sweetheart Beattie, brother Sid and friend
The generosity with which people have been sharing their WW1 letters has made researching this book a pleasure. So it's nice to be able to repay that generosity by offering some help, through this blog, to the relatives of sweethearts Beattie Grove and Ern West.

The couple, pictured on the left, came from Surrey and were separated during the war when Ern joined up with the Royal Fusliliers. He and Beattie wrote to each other almost daily and, miraculaously, Ern survived three long years in France - years which are documented in scores of their postcards which have been carefully catalogued by Beattie's nephew David Clark.

Ern and Beattie finally married in October 1918, however there was a tragic twist to what should have been a happy tale. Seven days after the wedding, Beattie died of Spanish flu aged 25. Heartbroken Ern, still in the army, returned to Germany and kept in touch with one of Beattie's sisters for a while. But eventually they drifted apart and contact was lost.

David Clark would dearly like to know what happened to the uncle he never knew, and it's just possible that Ern's photograph and story may ring bells with someone who is reading this.
  • Ernest Mac West was born in 1892 and grew up in the Camberley area of Surrey with his brother Sid and sisters Topsy and Ena.
  • As a young man, he moved to London and worked as an accountant for the chemists Savory & Moore.
  • When war broke out, he and brother Sid both enlisted in the Royal Fusiliers; Ern was a signaller with the 22nd Battalion and during the war was promoted to sergeant.
If you can help trace Ernest West, please get in touch with me at and I'll happily pass on details to his family.

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