He enlisted in the Army on the 26th February 1916 in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, and initially served with the Bedfordshire Regiment. Following the completion of his training he was posted to France on the 3rd November 1916 and on arrival he was transferred to the Leicestershire Regiment. He joined the 8th Battalion on the 16th November and a few days later, on the 23rd, the Battalion were in positions in the Hohenzollern sector of the Western Front. They were heavily bombarded for nearly four hours by German trench mortars and it is believed that it was during this bombardment that Ernest was wounded. He was taken to No.7 General Hospital at St. Omer where he died two days later and is buried in the Longuenesse (St. Omer) Souvenir Cemetery, France.