Reeves, Ernest James Benjamin (1888 HAM - 1918 HAM)


Reeves, Ernest James Benjamin


Father: John REEVES
Mother: Mary Eliza B RANSOM

Birth: February 1888
Birth Source: WW1 Papers from Ancestry.com

Death: 4q 1918
Death Source: FreeBMD

Spouse1: unmarried


Ernest is the last of eight known children of John C REEVES and his wife Mary, although on the 1911 census his mother indicates she had 13 children of whom only 7 were then surviving. He was born on 1 February 1888+ , with his birth being registered in the Southampton Registration District in the March quarter of 1888. The index shows him as Ernest James B Reeves. The only known source for his third given name of Benjamin is the Southampton Borough War Memorial.

On the 1891 census, Ernest is listed as James E Reeves, a three year old, born in Shirley Southampton. However, based on the names of his parents and older sibling there is no doubt this is Ernest. The family are living at 15 High Street, Shirley, where his father is the Post Master and his eldest brother William is a baker.

By the time of the 1901 census, Ernest appears as the youngest of five siblings in their parent's household at The Post Office, 15 High Street, Shirley. He was born in Southampton and the enumeration shows no occupation for Ernest.

On the 1911 census, Ernest James B Reeves appears as the 23 year old son of Mary Eliza Reeves (age 69). His father John had died in 1906. The family are living at 17 High Street, Shirley. He was born in Southampton and along with his elder brother William and nephew Frederick George REEVES, he is working with his mother as a Baker.

As Ernest James REEVES, on 1 November 1915 he enlisted in the British Army at Southampton for the duration of WW1.1   He was assigned to the Royal Engineers as a Motor Cyclist.1   He names his mother as Mrs E B REEVES of 17 High Street Shirley, Southampton as his next of kin.2   Just one day later he was given an promotion to A/MC Cpl (Acting Motor Cyclist Corporal) and this new rank of Corporal was confirmed on the same day.2   He was promoted Artificer Corporal on 1 March 1916 and joined the British Expeditionary Force in France on 1 April 1916.2   He also spent time in Italy.3  

Ernest left his unit on 28 March 1918, arrived back in the UK on 29 March 1918 and was admitted to the Scottish National Red Cross General Hospital in Cardonald, Glasgow, (Lanarkshire) Scotland a day later.4  He has suffered a fracture of his right tibia and of his left clavicle and some upper ribs, the result of a motor cycle accident. His records show that he was transferred to the RE SSTC (Royal Engineers Signal Service Training Centre) Depot staff also on 30 March 1918. Whilst in hospital he is diagnosed as having "Tubercle of Lung". At a medical review on 28 June 1918, it was noted that his fractures had healed 5, but that he should be discharged as permanently unfit because of the Tubercle of Lung which he contracted during his training at Houghton Regis, Bedfordshire during March 1916. (The same report notes he served with 11th Corps Signals, Royal Engineers.)3

He was discharged from the Army on 19 July 1918 as being no longer physically fit for war service and was awarded a pension in respect of total (100%) disability. His discharge papers note his intended place of residence as "Post Office, Shirley, nr Southampton", the family home.6

Sadly it seems likely he was overwhelmed by his TB very quickly as it is highly probable that Ernest's death is that recorded in December quarter of 1918 in Southampton Registration District as Ernest J B Reeves, aged 30.

The names of Ernest James Benjamin REEVES appears on the Southampton Cenotaph and the modern Memorial Wall in Watts Park along with four other individuals who share the surname Reeves; Arthur Harry REEVES, Edward Alec REEVES, Ernest Henry REEVES and Frank H REEVES 7 8

Research Notes

Wikipedia notes XI Corps was one of two corps HQs moved to the Italian Front in November 1917. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XI_Corps_(United_Kingdom).
The Long, Long Trail suggests XI Corps was in Italy from November 1917 and returned to France in March 1918. http://www.1914-1918.net/corps.htm
See also The Long, Long Trail at http://www.1914-1918.net/italy.htm which suggests XI Corps arrived 1 December 1917.

The Southampton Cenotaph Families and Friends Group published a page for Ernest in April 2015.


Birth:        FreeBMD 1888, March quarter, South Stoneham Registration District, vol 2c page 8 - as Ernest James B REEVES
                 DoB - Ancestry.com - Award Sheet-Disablement Pension - Image 21259
Death:      FreeBMD 1918, December quarter, Southampton Registration District, vol 2c page 162
1891 Census: RG12, Piece 0927, Folio 122 reverse, Page 2
1901 Census: RG13, Piece 1072, Folio 153 reverse, Page 24
1911 Census: RG14, Piece 5994, Registration District 99 (Southampton), Enumeration District 6, Schedule 6

WW1 medical file available from Ancestry.com comprises 14 pages with some duplicates, images 21257 to 21270 arranged as follows
Image 21257 - Proceedings on Discharge - V.S.5.E. 6759
Image 21259 - Award Sheet-Disablement Pension
Image 21261 - Medical History
Image 21263 - Medical Report on an Invalid
Image 21266 - Attestation

+   Award Sheet-Disablement Pension - Image 21259
1   Attestation - Image 21266
2   Reverse of Attestation - Image 21267
3   Medical Report - Image 21263
4   Reverse of Medical History - Image 21262
5   Reverse Medical Report - Image 2164
6   Proceedings on Discharge - Image 21257

7   Southampton Cenotaph Names - http://www.southampton.gov.uk/s-leisure/artsheritage/history/cenotaph.aspx
8   Southampton's Fallen Heroes - http://www.southampton.gov.uk/Images/Fallen%20Heroes_tcm46-351225.pdf
Contributors to this page: MartinB. .
Page last modified on Friday 05 of June, 2015 01:23:23 CDT by MartinB..