On the same day as the Armistice was agreed at 5am, and fighting came to an end at 11am, Air Mechanic 3rd Class, Ernest Stain, died of pneumonia in Lincoln Hospital, aged 21.
Born in Knowle on 15th June 1897, he was the youngest of the eight children (six sons, two daughters) of parents Thomas (a gardener) and Elizabeth (née Parsons) who had married in Warwick in 1883. Both of the couple’s daughters and two of their sons died in infancy – Amy Elizabeth (1888-1891), Arthur (June-July 1890), Jessie (1893-1895), and Alfred (January-June 1895).
The family lived at Golden End, Knowle and Ernest’s three surviving siblings all seem to have followed in their father’s footsteps as regards a career – William Henry (born 1885) became a gardener; Charles (born 1886) was a tree-feller by 1911 and a jobbing gardener by 1939; Frank (1891-1951) was a tree-feller by 1911.
Ernest chose a rather different occupation, and was a blacksmith before he was called up to the Army in January 1917, aged 19 years and six months. He was transferred to the Royal Flying Corps on 24th March 1917. The RFC then merged with the Royal Naval Air Service on 1st April 1918 to form the Royal Air Force.
Ernest Stain was serving with the 119th Training Depot at the time of his death, and it’s not believed that he saw any overseas service. He is buried in Knowle churchyard and is commemorated in the Soldiers’ Chapel at Knowle parish church.
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