1 October 1917 Private Ernest Mackness died on this day

Private Ernest Mackness, 1 Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)

Ernest lost his life on 1 October 1917 not in combat, but in front of a firing squad.

Mackness, a regular soldier aged 25, was under a suspended death sentence when he went absent on 22 August 1917 as his battalion moved into trenches at Nieuport. No doubt it was a combination of his existing suspended sentence and the fact that his battalion was involved in some stiff hand to hand fighting as soon as it went into the trenches that sealed his fate.

Private Mackness was shot for desertion on 1 October 1917 at Blaringhem, which is a small village about 12 kilometres southwest of Hazebrouck. Within the churchyard there are two pairs of Great War headstones: Private Mackness lies to the north side of the church alongside an "unknown" soldier of the Great War.

1 October 1917

Research by David Tattersfield MA, WFA Development Trustee.

Image courtesy of the The War Graves Photographic Project