Shadow

The history of Clophill, Bedfordshire, UK
Including historical descriptions, maps and statistical analysis.

World War One

E W Young

DIED OF INFLUENZA - 16 SEPTEMBER 1918 - AGED 35


 

ERNEST YOUNG’S GRAVE AND FREETOWN CEMETERY, SIERRA LEONE.

BORN IN CLOPHILL IN 1883.

ORDINARY SEAMAN J/81852. HMS AFRICA RN

ENLISTED

COMMEMORATED IN FREETOWN (KING TOM) CEMETERY, SIERRA LEONE.

Freetown Cemetery

Freetown Cemetery

In 1911 Ernest worked as a butcher. He lived at Riverdene, High Street with his wife Elsie Maud and their 2 young children, 3 years and 5 months respectively. (They had 3 children at the time of his death.) He had married Elsie Maud Palmer in 1906. She was born in Clophill in 1883. Her father was also a butcher on the High Street, Clophill.

Ernest's parents were William & Hannah. The 1891 Census shows William as a butcher in the High Street, Clophill. In 1901 Ernest had worked as a Butcher's assistant in his father's butcher's shop in Hall End, Maulden. Hannah's maiden name was Keech, she was born in Flitton. By 1911 Hannah was a widow still living in Hall End - stating that she has had 9 children, 7 of whom had survived.


In March 1917 HMS Africa was attached to the 9th Cruiser Squadron for service in the Atlantic Patrol and for convoy escort duties. She was based mainly at Sierra Leone and escorted convoys between Sierra Leone and Cape Town, South Africa. In September 1918, while based at Sierra Leone, some of the crew became ill. Their numbers virtually doubled each day from less than a handful at the start of the month, until September 9, when 476 crew were reported ill. On September 9, 1918 a crewman was reported dead of pneumonia, following having influenza.

Five more crew died September 12. The next day, another eight perished. On September 14th, 10 more ship's crew died. Burial parties were sent ashore daily, and the ship was put into quarantine.

HMS Africa

HMS Africa

By the time the quarantine flag was hauled down on September 30, 52 crew had died of illness, out of a total compliment of less than 800.

The Ampthill News

May 1918 "Mr. Ernest Young, R.N., is now stationed at Sierra Leone. He says the climate is delightful."

September 1918 "Mrs. Young has received the sad news that her husband, Seaman Ernest Young, has died of influenza. He was 35 years of age, was called up for service at the end of last year, and elected to join the Royal Navy. After a period of training at Chatham he was drafted to H.M.S. "Africa", where he died. He leaves a a widow and three young children to mourn his loss."