Shadow

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

World War One

Ernest George Diggins

KILLED IN ACTION 23RD AUGUST 1918 - AGED 27


 

BORN IN CLOPHILL IN 1891

PRIVATE 23332 1ST BATTALION BEDFORDSHIRE REGIMENT

ENLISTED IN AMPTHILL

COMMEMORATED IN ADANAC MILITARY CEMETERY, MIRAUMONT SOMME, FRANCE

Memorial Plaque

Memorial Plaque

 

In 1911 Ernest worked as a farm labourer and lived in Hall End, Maulden, with his mother Mary and father Charles and 6 of his siblings. By 1911 his parents had had 10 children, 9 of whom had survived. Charles at this time was a "police pensioner" aged 55, he had been a police constable in London. Ernest's brother Henry was also killed in WW1 and is also commemorated on our memorial. Previously they had lived on the High Street Clophill. His brother, Owen survived.

Ernest volunteered in November 1915, the following July he was sent to the Western Front. He was involved in battles at Arras, Ypres, Cambrai & Nouvechappelle. Ampthill News reports that in April 1916 he was home on leave and then in July was sent to France after 8 months training.


In April 1918 the 1st battalion were rushed back to the Western Front in response to the German Spring Offensives and fought in the Battle of the Lys, specifically in the Battle of Hazebrouck. Once the Allied army went on the final offensives that would become loosely known as the '100 days' they were engaged in several actions including in the Battle of Albert in August. Ernest was killed in Achiet-Le-Petit.

Extract from the battalion diary taken from the Regiment's website:- "The battalion assaulted German positions around Achiet le Petit on 23rd August 1918, losing heavily from machine gun fire. 23 Aug 1918 - [The Second Battle of the Somme (1918) - The Second Battle of Bapaume] Brown Line, Achiet-le-Petit Battalion moved up in front of ACHIET Le Petit & moved forward to the attack at 11 A.M.

All objectives taken, Battalion suffered rather heavily from Machine Gun fire. 8 officers, including the battalion's Commanding Officer, were all killed during their determined assault and 2 officers wounded. 129 Other Ranks killed & wounded. Battalion withdrew to Brown Line in reserve."

Medals

The silver medals are the British War Medal. The bronze medals are the Allied Victory Medal. Both Harry and Ernest received them. Their names are engraved around the rim.

Click to enlarge.


Ampthill News

April 8, 1916

Pte. Owen Diggins, son of Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Diggins, of Bedford Road, has been promoted Corporal. He and his brother, Pte. Ernest Diggins, have been home on leave.

July 15, 1916

Several of our boys who have been in training at Ampthill Park for the past 8 months, left for somewhere in France this week - Lance-corpl. C. Gudgin, Privates G. Gobey. P. Garner, F. Williams, B. Webb, H. Roberts, A. Webb, and E. Diggins.

May 19, 1917

Pte. Ernest Diggins has also been home on Leave.

September 7, 1918

Recently two Clophill lads made the supreme sacrifice, namely, Pte. Ernest Diggins and Pte. John Blackburn, both killed instantaneously.