LIEUTENANT ERNEST LAWTON HARGRAVE
ROYAL FLYING CORPS
22ND SEPTEMBER 1917 AGE 18
BURIED: EAST BOLDRE (ST PAUL) CHURCHYARD, HAMPSHIRE, UK
Just six graves down from Ernest Hargraves's, Walter Pawson's mother chose 'Thy will be done' for her son's personal inscription. These words from the Lord's Prayer are those most frequently used on war-grave headstones. However, Ernest Hargrave's mother makes an even more emphatic statement of submission to God's will with her choice from the first verse of a mid-nineteenth-century hymn by Horatius Bonar:
Thy way, not mine, O Lord,
However dark it be;
Lead me by thine own hand,
Choose out the path for me.
Mrs Hargrave's was a widow who kept a boarding house in Clapham. Ernest was the eldest of her two children; Arthur, her other son, would have been 8 when Ernest died. God's 'way' must have felt very dark to her.
There are twenty war graves in East Boldre Churchyard, nineteen of them relate to accidents at the Flying Training School there. According to a newspaper report, Hargrave's was one of two fatal accidents within twenty-four hours of each other. In Hargrave's case:
"On Saturday, Second Lieutenant Ernest Hargrave ascended, but when at height of 200 ft his machine nose-dived and crashed to the earth, resulting in his death from fracture of the skull."
The verdict of a subsequent inquiry concluded that it had been 'death by mis-adventure'.