Born 4th Jan 1891 in Nottingham, Able Seaman Ernest Winterton was the son of William and Elizabeth Winterton (née Dawes). Both of his parents were born in Nottingham, and they married there in 1868. Ernest was the second youngest of their twelve children.
In 1871 William and Elizabeth had two children and they were living at 12 Navigation Street, Leicester. William was working as a Shoe Finisher. By 1881 they had returned to Nottingham where William was a Shoe Maker and his wife was working as a Lace Clipper. Their home was at 33 Norland Road and they now had six children. The couple were at 12 Water Street, Nottingham in 1891 with their nine children, the two eldest having left home. Ernest was 3 months old.
The family had moved to 29 Twells St, Nottingham by the time the census was taken in 1901. William continued to work as a Shoe Maker and Elizabeth as a lace-maker and three of their daughters followed Elizabeth into the textile trade, making handmade hosiery and shirts. Ernest now had a younger sister Florence who was born in 1893.
“Kit Inspection,” HMS Ganges
Ernest was 17 years old and a Silk Dyer when he joined the Royal Navy on 25 August 1908 as a Boy 2nd Class, stationed on the HMS Ganges, a boys training base at Shotley, Suffolk. His 12 years engagement started on his 18th birthday on 4 January 1909. By the time of the 1911 Census he was an Ordinary Seaman serving in HMS King Alfred, a First class Cruiser of the Home Fleet, which was at Torquay.
HMS Iron Duke
Ernest was stationed on a number of ships and shore establishments before joining the crew of the Laurentic. He was an Able Seaman on the HMS Iron Duke from April 1914 till August 1916. HMS Iron Duke was the lead ship of a class of four battleships, and was the flagship of Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Fleet at the battle of Jutland, 31st May to 1st June 1916. Jutland remains to this day the largest ever naval battle with the loss of around 6,000 British and 2,500 German lives but the Iron Duke suffered no damage or casualties.
Ernest’s body was not recovered for burial and he is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial and Nottingham Broad Street Wesleyan Chapel War Memorial.
Royal Navy Registers of Seamen’s Services. ADM 188, 362 and 363. The National Archives of the UK
Census Returns of England & Wales, 1871, ’81, ’91, 1911. The National Archives of the UK