Ernest William HUBBARD

Ernest is Wymeswold’s only Australian casualty. The eighth child in a large family, he was clearly ambitious, since even by the age of 16 he was described as a ‘cattleman’ – a skilled job. His sister Elizabeth emigrated with her husband in 1908 to New South Wales, and Ernest followed in 1911. His brother Albert emigrated, but to Brisbane, the next year.

In 1916, Ernest and Albert volunteered. (All Australians were volunteers – the country rejected conscription in two referendums). Albert was in the 97th Artillery Brigade, while Ernest joined the 14th Battalion of the AIF. Meanwhile their younger brother Eustace was to enlist in England, and also joined the artillery.

Ernest served as a stretcher bearer, and at the end of September 1917 was at the battle of Polygon Wood, where he was commended along with his comrades for courage in rescuing men under fire. A fortnight later he was dead – one of the thousands who died in the mud and chaos of Passchendaele. He died near Zonnebeke crossroads; it seems his body was recovered and buried, but the grave must have been lost. He is remembered on the Menin Gate.

Ernest Hubbard, 14th Bn, AIF
Stretcher bearers at Zonnebeke, 10th October 1917