Mother: Hester/Esther Reeve
Birth: c1895 in Sussex
Birth Source: FreeBMD and Census
Death Source: France
On the 1901 census Ernest is to be found with his mother Hester REEVE and three siblings at 42 Lavender Street, Brighton, Sussex. The head of household is Alfred FAULKNER and Hester's relationship is shown as Housekeeper. See Research Note 1 below. Ernest is six years of age and his place of birth is given as Brighton.
At the time of the 1911 census Ernest is again to be found with his mother and two siblings in the household of Alfred FAULKNER at 33 Roedale Road, Preston, Brighton, Sussex. Hester Reeve's relationship to Alfred is again given as Housekeeper. Ernest is sixteen years old and was born in Brighton. An occupation for Ernest was noted, but then extensively crossed through rendering unreadable, seemingly in the same black ink as used for the remainder of the schedule.
It is likely Ernest enlisted in the Royal Sussex Regiment in about July 1912. (See Research Note 2 below). In all documents relating to his time in the British Army his surname is shown as REEVES rather than Reeve.
With his regiment, he was sent to France in August 1914 and in May 1915 received a gun shot wound to the shoulder. Within three days he was returned to England for hospital care in Liverpool, where the wound was described as "slight". It is not known when he rejoined his regiment.
It is believed that Ernest's death is that recorded on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's website as Ernest Reeves. He was serving as Private L/9963 in the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment and died in September 1918. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Vis-en-Artois Memorial in the British Cemetery of the same name which is to the west of the village of Haucourt in the Pas de Calais département of France (FR-62). The CWGC website additionally notes that he was Age 23 and also "Son of the late Mrs. Esther Reeve".
The death of Private L/9963 of the Sussex Regiment is included in the GRO Index to War Deaths 1914-1921. Army (other Ranks) page 3012 as Ernest Reeves, year 1918, vol I.73, page 438.
The "UK, Army Registers of Soldiers' Effects, 1901-1929" entry for Private L/9963 Ernest Reeves shows him serving with the Royal Sussex Regiment. It notes a single payment to his father Alfred Faulkner in August 1920. Again see Research Note 1 below.
There is also a record in Soldiers Died in the Great War for Private L/9963 Ernest Reeves. It gives his place of birth as Brighton and notes he was Killed in Action.
His death is recorded on the Brighton War Memorial in Old Steine Gardens, Brighton. There are three other individuals sharing the surname Reeves commemorated there; Albert Reeves and George Reeves who were brothers and William Harold Reeves.
(1) The biological father of Ernest Reeve is not presently known. Do you have a copy of Ernest's birth certificate showing his father? Whilst the "UK, Army Registers of Soldiers' Effects, 1901-1929" details beneficiary Alfred FAULKNER as his father, that may simply be that Ernest regarded Alfred as a father-like figure, having lived in his household for over a decade during his formative years.
On both the 1901 and 1911 census returns Alfred is shown as a widower and Hester as a widow. On the 1881 census Alfred is living with his (first) wife Ellen and their two young children Harry (11) and Rose (7). (Source RG11, Piece 1100, Folio 44f, Page 25). At the time of the 1911 census it is known that Alfred's wife Ellen was still alive, living in Chiswick, Middlesex with their son Harry and daughter Rose. (Source RG14, Piece 6949, Reg.Dist. 128 (Brentford), Sub Dist. 5 (Chiswick), Enum.Dist. 22, Schedule 142).
On the 1911 census return Alfred notes that Hester (although a widow) has had 3 "children born alive to the present marriage", all of whom were then surviving. Hester's three youngest children had their respective births registered as Margaret Faulkner REEVE (2q 1899, Brighton Reg.Dist.), Arthur Faulkner REEVE (3q 1901, Brighton) and Percy Faulkner REEVE (2q 1905, Brighton). Arthur and Percy are with Alfred and Hester on the 1911 census. Margaret has yet to be identified; there is no apparent death registration for her. The third child in the 1911 household is Ernest.
(2) The likely date of Ernest's enlistment in the Royal Sussex Regiment is based on information found at http://armyservicenumbers.blogspot.co.uk/2009/05/royal-sussex-regiment-1st-2nd.html. It shows that soldier 9841 joined on 6 January 1912 and 10085 on 2 February 1913.
Death: GRO Index to War Deaths 1914-1921 Army (Other Ranks) page 3012
CWGC http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/1748024/REEVES, ERNEST
1901 Census: RG13, Piece 0926, Folio 82 face, Page 7
1911 Census: RG14, Piece 5170, Reg.Dist. 080 (Steyning), Sub Dist. 1 (Preston), Enum.Dist. 18, Schedule 071
Brighton War Memorial http://www.roll-of-honour.com/Sussex/Brighton.html
From Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1918 at FindMyPast
First name(s) ERNEST Last name REEVES Service number L/9963 Rank PRIVATE Regiment Royal Sussex Regiment Battalion 2nd Battalion. Birth place BRIGHTON Residence - Enlistment place CHICHESTER Death year 1918 Death day 24 Death month 9 Cause of death Killed in action Death place British Expeditionary Force Theatre of war Western European Theatre