Ernest Edward Hector was born in 1875, one of six children – all boys – to Thomas and Mary Hector. Thomas was a farm labourer, and this was a trade Ernest and his brothers all followed their father in.
Ernest was keen for a better life, however, and enlisted in the Somerset Light Infantry in May 1896, aged 21. After initial training and service in England, Private Hector was off to the East Indies, arriving there just after Christmas 1897.
Six years abroad followed, after which Ernest returned to England to serve another four years. He completed the 12 years of his military career in May 1908.
By this point, Ernest had married Eliza Humphries, a young lady seven years his junior, who came from his home village of North Wootton in Somerset. The couple went on to have six children and, by the time of the 1911 census, Ernest had settled his family in West Pennard, near Glastonbury, and was working as a farm labourer.
Ernest’s service during the Great War remains tantalisingly hidden. Given that he was 39 when hostilities broke out, it is unlikely that he was called up again straight away; his gravestone confirms that he was assigned to the Machine Gun Corps (Infantry), but research on his service number provides little other detail.
There is nothing in the media of the time reporting on his death or funeral either, so no concrete cause of death can be confirmed. All that is known is that Private Hector died on 9th May 1920, aged 45 years old.
Ernest Edward Hector is buried in the graveyard of St Peter’s Church in North Wootton.