Ernest was the illegitimate son of Rosetta Wingfield Hookham born in Chorleywood on the 25th of January 1880 and baptised there on the 24th of March. His father may have been George Cox who Rosetta married in 1882.
In 1881 Rosetta, a Rag Sorter at Paper Mill, and Ernest were living with her parents and four of her siblings, near Chorleywood Common. In 1891 George, Rosetta, Ernest (with the surname Cox) and three subsequent children, were at 10 Hammer, Chorleywood, George being a General Labourer. Ernest has not been traced in 1901 although his family was at Drayton Ford, Uxbridge Road, Rickmansworth.
On the 23rd of December 1905 Ernest married Beatrice Florence Collins in Chorleywood and their children Beatrice Rosetta and Ernest William were born in 1907 and 1911. On the 1911 census they were living Springwell, Harefield with Ernest a General Labourer.
Beatrice Florence remarried in 1919 to Walter William Statham and in 1939 they were living at 1 The Scrubs, Northwood. Ernest’s cousin George Horace Hookham was killed in action on the 21st of April 1915.
He is recorded as enlisting in Bedford.