PRIVATE ERNEST ALDERSON
EAST YORKSHIRE REGIMENT
21ST JUNE 1918 AGE 19
BURIED: SISSONNE BRITISH CEMETERY, FRANCE
Numerous inscriptions look forward to the happy time when the writer will be reunited with their loved one beyond the grave. Others rail against God for taking away their reason for living. Hannah Alderson simply demands that God sends her son back to her. Here is a mother who seven years after her son's death has still not been reconciled it. But why would she be; Ernest was her only surviving child.
I say seven years because I can see that it was March 1925 before Ernest Alderson's body was exhumed from where the Germans had buried it in Asfeld la Ville German Cemetery. This is when Mrs Alderson would have been asked to choose an inscription and confirm her son's details for his permanent headstone.
Ernest Alderson was the son of Israel and Hannah Alderson of Sedgefield, Co. Durham. Israel, born in Sedgefield, was a plate layer with the North Eastern Railway. Ernest served with the East Yorkshire Regiment. The record states that he served with the 1st Battalion but it was the 1st/4th that was caught in Operation Blucher-Yorck on 27 May 1918. The battalion's casualty statistics for June tell their own story: one officer believed killed, twenty-two missing; three other ranks killed, fifty-two wounded, 566 missing. This left three officers and 107 other ranks available for service. The following month the 1st/4th East Yorkshire Regiment was reduced to cadre strength and ceased to exist as a fighting unit.
Without any real supporting evidence for this, other than the fact that the Yorkshires were in the trenches at Craonne and Asfeld, where Alderson was originally buried, is not far from there, I suspect that Ernest was serving with the 1st/4th when he was taken prisoner and that he died in German captivity.