Engineer Sub Lieutenant Ernest Edward Midgley, R.N.R. was born was born in 1888, the 3rd son of John Charles and Elizabeth Midgley, and in 1917 he was living at 16, Buxton Road, Rock Ferry, Birkenhead. Ernest served his apprenticeship at Messrs. Cammell Laird & Co., Shipbuilders and on the outbreak of war, in August, 1914, he was serving with the Elder Dempster Line. When he was at home he had been a prominent member of the Bedford Mission, Rock Ferry, Birkenhead and had also been an enthusiastic Freemason in the “Evening Star” Lodge, Liscard. He had been a member of The Liverpool Branch of the Marine Engineers Association. On 3rd November, 1916, he joined the Royal Naval Reserve. He then took passage on a ship bound for Halifax, Nova Scotia where he was to join the crew of the H.M.S. Laurentic on the 17th of November, 1916. He came home on leave in December, 1916, when the Laurentic returned to Birkenhead.
It is nor clear if Edward Midgley was on duty or resting when H.M.S. Laurentic struck the two mines which were to eventually sink her or if he was able to get to a lifeboat, as his body was never recovered. His mother, Mrs Elizabeth Midgley, received the telegram from the Admiralty informing her and her husband of their son’s death on Sunday, 28th January, 1917.
After the end of the world war 1, Engineer Sub Lt. Midgley was commemorated on the war memorial plaque commemorating all members of the The Liverpool Branch of The Marine Engineers Association who lost their lives during the war (This memorial is now missing), on his family tombstone in Flaybrick Hill Cemetery, Bidston, Birkenhead and on the Birkenhead Municipal War Memorial. He is also commemorated on The Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon, England.
We are grateful to Peter Threlfall, WW1 historian, who generously contributed the photograph and biographical information on Ernest Edward Midgley.
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