Ernest Harry Sucking was born and raised in Chelmsford where he worked as a printer for the Essex Weekly News. He married in Surrey in 1907 and had three children there, one of whom died in infancy. During the war he served in the army and was fatally wounded in January 1918 near Ypres when an ammunition truck was hit by a bomb dropped from a German aircraft. His widow, widowed mother and brother lived in three neighbouring houses in Rosebery Road.
SUCKLING, ERNEST HARRY,
Private, 13th Company, Labour Corps (formerly of the Seaforth Highlanders)
The same edition also reported:
“Pt. E.H. Suckling, Seaforths, was killed in action in France on Jan 9. He was the eldest son of the late Mr. H.G. Suckling, of Rainsford End and Mrs. Suckling (now of Rosebery Road, Chelmsford). The deceased was for some years in the employ of the Essex Weekly News Series Ltd., and was well-known in Chelmsford. He was a member of the London Road Congregational Church and of the Bible class in connection therewith. He was 37 years of age and leaves a widow , son and daughter. His brother, Mr. E.G. Suckling (of the Post-office). is serving in the R.E., and his brother-in-law, Mr. J.H. Lamb, in the A.P.C.”
The day’s Essex Weekly News carried the following family announcement:
“Suckling. - Killed in action on the 9th January, Pte. Ernest Harry Suckling, Seaforths, eldest son of the late Mr. H. G. Suckling, of Rainsford End, and Mrs. Suckling, of Rosebery-rd., Chelmsford, aged 37 years. Deeply mourned for by Wife, Son and Daughter, Mother, Brother, and Sister.”
The same edition also published a report on Ernest’s death:
“Pte. Ernest H. Suckling, Seaforths, killed in action on Jan. 9, was the eldest son of the late Mr. H. G. Suckling, of Rainsford-end, and Mrs. Suckling, now of Rosebery-rd., Chelmsford. The deceased was for some years employed in the office of the ‘Essex Weekly News’ Series Ltd., and was 37 years of age. He was a member of the London-rd. Congregational Church and the Bible Class. He leaves a widow, son and daughter. His brother, Mr. E. G. Suckling (of the Post Office), is serving in the Royal Engineers, and his brother-in-law, Mr. J. H. Lamb, in the A.P.C.”
A week later the Essex County Chronicle included a message of thanks from Ernest’s family:
“Mrs. Suckling and family return thanks for the many expressions of sympathy received from their many friends in their recent sad bereavement, Letters are too numerous to acknowledge separately. - Rosebery Road, Chelmsford.”
Ernest is commemorated on the Civic Centre Memorial, Chelmsford, and at the London Road Congregational Church, Chelmsford. He was not commemorated on the war memorial at St. John’s Church in Moulsham Street.
The 1918 register of electors listed his widow at 14 Rosebery Road (now 28), Moulsham, his mother at number 15 (now 30), and his brother Edwin and sister-in-law Florence at number 16 (now 32).
Ernest’s mother died in 1923, aged 65, while his widow died in 1944, aged 64.
Ernest was born in Chelmsford in 1880, the son of Harry George Suckling and Ellen Suckling (nee Lamb). His father had been born in 1856 in Chelmsford; his mother in 1858 in Springfield. the couple had married in 1879.
Ernest’s siblings, all Chelmsford-born, were Sidney Arthur Suckling (1882-1883), Edwin George Suckling (1884-1952) and Constance Annie Ellen. Suckling (1887-1964).
The 1881 census recorded one year-old Ernest with his parents at 7 Victoria Place, Chelmsford. His father was a tower maltster. A decade later eleven year-old Ernest was living with his parents and two siblings at 11 Primrose Terrace, South Primrose Hill, Chelmsford (today’s number 59). His father was employed as a leather merchant’s clerk. The family was still at the premises in the 1901 census, by which time Ernest was aged 21 and working as a linotype operator at a printers. His father was a leather manufacturer’s clerk, and his brother Edwin worked for the Post Office.
Ernest married Margaret Helen Kirkland in Surrey in 1907. She had been born in Islington, London around 1881.
The couple’s children were John Keith Suckling (1908-1990), Donovan E. Suckling (1912-1914) and Margaret J. Suckling (born 1916).
The census of 1911 recorded Ernest, his wife and elder son at 18 Waveney Avenue, Peckham Rye in London. He was a linotype operator for a general printer’s.
Ernest’s father died in 1913, aged 56.
Ernest lived at East Dulwich enlisted into the army at Peckham, Surrey. He served with the Seaforth Highlanders and was killed in action on 9th January 1918 while serving as Private 199225 in the 13th Company of the Labour Corps. The Civic Centre Memorial in Chelmsford recorded him as serving with the Seaforth's. Ernest was aged 37. He is buried at Duhallow Advanced Dressing Station
Cemetery, Ypres, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium (grave: II. F. 6).
Ernest is thought to be among more than forty men of the 13th Company Labour Corps, many also transferees from the Seaforth's, who were killed when a German aircraft dropped a bomb on an ammunition truck. Ernest was entitled to the British War Medal and Victory Medal.
On 1st February 1918 the Essex County Chronicle carried the following family announcement:
“Suckling. - Killed in action in France, on the 9th January, Pt. Ernest Harry Suckling, Seaforths, aged 37 years, eldest son of the late Mr. H. G. Suckling, of Rainsford End, and Mrs. Suckling of Rosebery Road, Chelmsford.”