Ernest Boardman was a Mancunian who married in 1936 and had three children. He served in the Royal Artillery during the war in a unit which provided anti-aircraft defence for Chelmsford. He collapsed and died at the town's swimming baths in August 1943 after playing water polo for an army team. His home was in Manchester.
Ernest was born in 1914 in Manchester, Lancashire, the son of Charles Boardman and Hannah Boardman (nee Carter). His parents had married at St. Thomas Church, Lower Crumpsall in Lancashire on 23rd December 1911.
Ernest's siblings were Charles Boardman (born in 1912), Annie Boardman (born in 1916), Edna Boardman (born in 1920), and Lily Boardman (born in 1923),
In 1936 he married Lily Gardner and the couple had three children. During the Second World War Ernest served as Serjeant 1791132 in 278 Battery of the 68 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment which provided anti-aircraft defence for Chelmsford.
Aged 29, Ernest collapsed and died from a heart attack in the changing box within minutes of leaving Chelmsford Public Baths on 6th August 1943.
He was competitor in a United Works Swimming Gala, part of the Holidays at Home week and had just scored two goals while playing water polo for an Army team. Prior to that he had gained second prize in a military swimming event.
A Chelmsford newspaper reported:
"SCORED TWICE, THEN DIED.
After had played water polo for an Army team in Holidays-at-Home swimming gala at the Chelmsford Corporation Baths on Aug. 6, Sgt. Ernest Boardman, 29, collapsed and died in a dressing box. He had scored two goals for his side. His home was at Manchester. Death was due to a sudden heart attack.
Sergt. Boardman was married and there are three children, the youngest being three months old. Before playing in the polo match, Sergt. Boardman had gained second prize in a military swimming event.
In a tribute to Sergt. Boardman, Mr. F. Carlton, who organised the gala, writes: "We extend sincere sympathy to the relatives of Sergt. Boardntan and to the members ot his unit, who have sustained a grievous loss in the death of great sportsman. He was a fine water polo player, and a member of the Manchester Swans, a noted North Country team. Shortly before he died he scored two of the finest goals ever seen a polo match Chelmsford."
The funeral of Sergt. Boardman took place at Manchester on Thursday."
Ernest BOARDMAN, Serjeant, 278 Battery, 68 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery
Died at Swimming Baths, Waterloo Lane, Chelmsford. Aged 29
The following week the same paper reported:
"WORKERS RAISED £250 FOR WIDOW OF SOLDIER WHO DIED AT GALA .
Mr. Frank Carlton, organiser of the relief fund raised by the united works of Chelmsford to benefit the wife and children of the late Sergeant Ernest Boardman, who died at the swimming gala, asks The Essex Newsman state that the fund amounted £251 8s.
Of this amount two works raised £120 and £113 respectively. The Mayor of Chelmsford, Mr. Sidney Taylor, gave five guineas. The profit from a benefit dance reached £10. Another firm gave three guineas.
Immediate assistance of £31 was given to the family. A fund was also subscribed by members of Sergt. Boardman's unit; and altogether a trust fund of £350 was organised to be paid to Mrs Boardman at monthly intervals until the money is exhausted.
Officers, N.C.O.s and men of the unit itself to-day record theii appreciation of the magnificent gesture of the workers of the two factories mentioned in raising a sum exceeding £250.
Sergt. Boardman, who was 29, died from a heart attack at the Chelmsford swimming baths after playing water polo for an Army team in the Holidays-at-Home gala "Sergt. Boardman," says today's Essex Chronicle, "was married and there are three children. The youngest is three months" old. His unit is well known to the workpeople of more than one factory. They are grateful for the protection which that unit has given them."
Ernest was subsequently buried in his home city at Manchester (Philips Park) Cemetery (Section C. Church. Grave 675.). He was a member of the Manchester Swans water polo team.
After his death Frank Carlton organised a relief fund to benefit Ernest s widow and children, raising 251 8s, the majority from Chelmsford s war factories.