Name: Ernest George Kerslake

 

Birth Date: 1890 Where: Ennoa, Victoria
Died: 6 March, 1917 Where: Malt Trench, Warlencourt, France
Place of Enlistment: Melbourne, Victoria Age: 25
Serial Number: 2026 Battalion: 26th
Rank on Enlistment: Private Rank on Discharge/Death: Sergeant

Awards: 1914 - 15 Star, British War Medal 1914 - 1920, Victory Medal,

 

Photograph

Service Details:

 

 

17 July

1915                      Enlisted

11 Dec.

1915                      Gallipoli

21 March

1916                      France

6/7 June

1916                      Trench Raid

29 July – 27 Aug.

1916                      Pozieres (Sausage Valley)

4 August

1916                      Pozieres

6 September

1916                      Belgium

October

1916                      Ypres and Dernacourt

3 November

1916                      Battle of Ancres Heights & Fricourt

Febuary

1917                      Warlencourt

1 March

1917                      Promoted Sergeant

6 March

1917                      Killed in Action, Attack on Malt Trench

 

 

 

 

Biographical Details:

Ernest Kerslake was born to Ernest George and Emma Cox in 1890, in Victoria.  Other than he was a labourer in Melbourne nothing is known of Ernest’s pre-service life. He enlisted in the 3rd Reinforcement of the 26th Battalion in Melbourne in July 1915,  finished his training in Egypt and joined the 26th Battalion in December 1915 just before the AIF evacuated Gallipoli.
In early December Ernest’s mother wrote to the military seeking to be declared Ernest’s next-of-kin on the grounds that she and her husband were separated and Ernest had lived with her and been her sole support. She was added as a person to be kept informed but not as N.O.K. Consequently Ernest’s father was awarded his service medal, the Memorial Scroll and Plaque and a pension.
During the June Trench Raid Ernest was part of the Left Bombing Party. The following appeared in the Euroa Advertiser 28th July, 1916, page 3
                          GOT AN EARLY GERMAN.
                          From Private E. KERSLAKE.
Private E. Kerslake writes home that he is well, and has just had
a week's trip to England, where he was given a right royal time.
His story of how he earned the trip is as follows:- "They called for volunteers to go over to the German lines, so I stepped out to
go with them. It was the first raiding that the Australians have
done in France. I can say that I am one of the first to get a German. I got him and took him back to our trenches, so that is how I got the trip to England.”

On 17th September 1916, Corporal Ernest George Kerslake along with Corporal Oscar James Lawson and Privates William Phillips and Isaac Joseph Mills were all recommended for the Mention In Dispatches:
Good and consistent work in the trenches from April 12 to July 28  1916, and for good work during a raid on the enemy’s trenches on June 6 1916.
These MIDs were never awarded.

In March 1917, soon after being promoted to Sergeant, Ernest was killed during an attack on Malt Trench.
This telling notice appeared in the Shepparton Advertiser on 2nd April 1917:
Sergt. Ernest Kerslake has been killed in Action.  He was the eldest son of Mr and Mrs Kerslake of Euroa; enlisted in September, 1915; saw service in Gallipoli and France and has recently been on sick leave.  When writing to a friend in Euroa re his sick leave, he said, “I am glad if only to have rest.”  And yet we hear of our boys not needing help!
The location of Ernest Kerslake’s grave site is not known.  His name is recorded on a wall of the Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, France.