CWG: Sergeant Ernest Coombs

Serjeant Ernest Coombs

Ernest Frederick Coombs was born in the summer of 1866. One of four children to cabinet maker Frederick Coombs and his wife Julie, the family lived in Leatherhead, Surrey.

Unfortunately, the documentation around Ernest’s life is a little scattered. What we do know is that he married Alice Amelia Kinnear in June 1889, and the couple went on to have fourteen children.

Jumping forward, and by the time of the 1911 census, the family were living in a small terraced house on the outskirts of Dover. Ernest listed his trade as a canteen managed for a provision merchant.

Sadly, Ernest’s military records are also lost to time. He enlisted in the Royal Marines Light Infantry, and was promoted to Serjeant during his time there.

The only other information available about him comes from the obituaries section of a local newspaper in March 1917:

COOMBS: On February 13th, at the Royal Naval Hospital, Chatham, after a short illness, Ernest Frederick Coombs, aged 50 [sic] years (late of 14 Leighton Road, Dover). RIP

Dover Express: Friday 2nd March 1917

Ernest Frederick Coombs was actually 49 when he died; he lies at rest in the Woodlands Cemetery in Gillingham, Kent.

Ernest’s grave was also the last resting place for his youngest son, Raymond, who died aged just twelve years old, two months after his father, and his widow, Alice, who passed away in 1954, at the age of 82.

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