Ernest Charles Rawle was born in 1899, the fourth son of George Rawle, a sailor, and Louisa, his wife.
Ernest was still at school at the time of the 1911 census, and enlisted in the West Somerset Yeomanry, but enlisted in the army in April 1915. His served on the Home Front, but was discharged as being unfit for war service on 22nd July 1916.
Private Rawle’s discharge records confirm that he had pulmonary tuberculosis, which he had contracted a couple of months before. They go on to suggest that it was not a permanent condition, but was likely to render him unfit for service for a number of months.
Eager to do his bit, Ernest’s record show that he re-enlisted in August 1916, and that he was considered fit for military service by the November of that year.
His medical records continue further – he was admitted to a field hospital again in March 1917, again suffering from tuberculosis. He was moved back to base as he was “a danger to his comrades”.
His records after March 1917 are not available, but he passed way from TB in November 1919. He was just 21 years old.
It should be noted that, by June 1921, Louisa Rawle had lost three of her four sons to the Great War. Her husband, George, had also passed away in 1915.
Louisa’s other son – Edward – also served, enlisting in the Somerset Light Infantry and fighting in the Balkans. Private Edward Rawle survived the war, returning home in March 1919.