Date of birth: 17th February 1888
Parents: Arthur and Annie Heather
Wife: Ethel Florence Heather nee Pitt
Address: 8 Beauchamp Road, Warwick
Occupation: Career soldier
Ernest was born in Liverpool City, New South Wales, Australia on 17th February 1888. His parents had arrived in Sydney on 13th July 1887. He had a brother, Arthur, born in 1886 and a sister Margaret (1903-1987).
By 1898 the family were living at 10 Woodlawn Road, Fulham, London and Ernest and his brother Arthur attended Halford Road School, Fulham.
According to the census of 1911 the family had moved to Hayes, Middlesex and Ernest’s father Arthur was working as a wharf clerk for the Borough Council. At this time both sons had joined the military. Ernest aged 24 was a corporal in the Hussars of the Line based at the Military Barracks, Scalby, Yorkshire and Arthur was a private in the Royal Fusiliers in India. Arthur served in WW1 in France in the Machine Gun Corps and died from wounds in 1916 aged 31.
Ernest married Ethel Florence Pitt on 18th November 1915 in Colchester, Essex.
At the end of the war Ernest took a position at the County Record Office in Warwick but he never fully recovered from the illnesses he contracted whilst on active service and dies at the age of 58 in 1946.
He was buried in Warwick Cemetery with full military honours:
Ernest’s wife, Ethel, died in Warwick in 1974 aged 88.
Rank & Number: Major, 236194
Regiment/Service: General List
Date of death: 20th May 1946
Cause of death/Battle: Died at home
Commemorated/Buried: Buried in Warwick Cemetery. CWGC Reference: Sec. 107. Cons. Grave 29. CRO Reference: Section H1, Row 22, Plot 8
Commemorated locally at: All Saints Church, Emscote
Major Heather fought with the 20th Hussars during the Great War and transferred to the Royal Warwickshire Regiment in 1919. By 1927, he was a Supervisor at the Army Records Office, St John’s, Warwick.
In 1939 he transferred to the Warwickshire Yeomanry and served in the Middle East. He was mentioned in Despatches in September 1942. On 3rd of August 1943 he was reported as being dangerously ill on the casualty list.
Philip Wilson writes: “Photograph of a Warwickshire Yeomanry Patrol at Rosh Pinna, Palestine January 1940 – the photo had an incorrect pencil caption implying Rosh Pinna was in Syria when it was in Palestine. Major Heather may well be the second person on horseback on left below the pencil caption”.
Warwick Advertiser pieces relating to Ernest Heather:
Philip Wilson again: “Major Heather’s Territorial Efficiency medal was offered for sale in January 2016 and was acquired by a private collector who wishes to remain anonymous, having shared the supporting sale details with the Warwickshire Yeomanry Museum”.
- Unlocking Warwick Research Group
- Warwick Advertiser excerpts courtesy of Warwickshire County Record Office
- Special thanks to Philip Wilson of The Warwickshire Yeomanry Museum Trust – for providing all military and medal information and for the photograph of the Warwickshire Yeomanry in Palestine