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Ernest Lake was born in 1889, in Glenridding. Before the war he was a miner, firstly at Greenside mine, and then in Scotland. He had followed both his father and grandfather into Greenside mine. His father, John, was born in Coombemartin, Devon around 1850 and had moved with his parents, to Glenridding to work at the mine in around 1870. In his youth Ernest would have attended Patterdale School, and was a member of Patterdale Football Club, alongside Frank Dewis and Glen Pattinson. By 1911, despite the death of his father, he was the third generation of Lakes working at Greenside mine as an Ore Dresser, and his mother Christiana ran a boarding house at Bridge House in Glenridding.
He is likely to have enlisted around December 1915, alongside George Cooper and George Thompson. He had been in France for about a year with the 2nd Battalion, Coldstream Guards, when he died. His Captain wrote to his mother, who by this time had moved to Heatherfield, Haltwhistle in Northumberland.
“You have probably heard that your son, Private E Lake, was wounded in our great advance on 31st July, and I am sorry to say that I now have even worse news for you. After being in hospital for two days he passed away on 2nd August. Your son was a terrible loss to us as he has always behaved in a most gallant manner and volunteered for the most dangerous duty by acting as a stretcher bearer. It was while carrying out these duties during the attack that he was wounded”
Ernest died in the Third Battle of Ypres, otherwise known as the Battle of Passchendale, which began on the 31st July 1917. He is buried, at Dozinghem Military Cemetery in Belgium, which was the location of the 47th Casualty Clearing Station where he was taken after he was wounded, and where he subsequently died. He is commemorated on the Patterdale War memorial and the Glenridding Village Hall Roll of Honour alongside his cousins William and Herbert Lake, and Harold Oglethorpe, and his childhood friend George Cooper, whose names appears alongside him in the Coldstream Guards Medal Roll Book shown below.
In terms of Ernest family his mother Christiana died on the 12th October 1924 whilst living at Tyne View Road, Haltwhistle in Northumberland, where the family had moved during the war. She bequeathed her estate to her daughter Ethel, Ernest’s younger sister, who had been born in Glenridding in May 1893. Ethel died aged 78 in Carlisle in June 1971. Ernest’s elder sister Ellen was born in 1886 but so far we have found no trace of her after the 1911 census when she was living with Ernest and his mother in Glenridding. Ernest also had a brother, John, who had died in infancy in 1891.
Feb 2018 Update
In February 2018 we made a trip to Flanders in Belgium including a visit to the Dozinghem Military Cemetery to find Ernest’s grave. The cemetery has 3,174 Commonwealth burials of the First World War as well as 65 German war graves and 73 Second World War burials dating from the Allied withdrawal to Dunkirk in May 1940.
Guardsman Ernest Lake
17524, 2nd Battalion Coldstream Guards
Born 1889 Glenridding. Died 2nd August 1917 Aged 28 in Belgium.
Son of John and Christiana (nee Oglethorpe) Lake, late of Bridge House, Glenridding
Stretcher Bearers like Ernest in Deep mud on 1st August 1917 at Pilckem Ridge, During the Battle of Passchendale
Patterdale Football Team 1906 -