Ernest was born in Accrington, Cheshire and was the son of Mr & the late Mrs Thomas Piggott of Alderley Edge. He had 3 brothers and 2 sisters and appears to have been brought up by his older sister Elizabeth Hayes of 263 Runcorn Road, Barnton, Northwich, as he changed his next of kin on Army Form C348 on 8th Jan 1917 from his father to his sister stating she brought him up from a boy. He was 26 when he enlisted and was married to Elizabeth Ada Broome, she was from Witton near Northwhich. His occupation was that of a Salt Boiler at the Salt Union Works at Weston Point. He had no children.
He enlisted on the 30th August 1914 and his enlistment document states that he was 5ft 6 7/8 inches (very accurate measurement). He had a “fresh” complexion with blue eyes and brown hair. He was initially posted to the 8th Cheshire Battalion, but then transferred to the 9th leaving for France on 19th July 1915. He was appointed to the rank of Lance Corporal on the 6th July 1917, and the next month promoted to Corporal, but at his own request reverted back to Private later that year.
On March 21st, the Germans launched Kaiserschlacht, in an effort to try and end the war before the more Americans arrived. It was the final German offensive, and although the allies knew it was coming the ferocity and the number of soldiers involved initially overwhelmed them. Ernest was involved in fighting just east of Bapaume, at Delsaux Farm on the 24th. Ernest was captured and died as a POW (stated in a letter from the war office) on the 27th March 1918. He is buried in Cambrai Military Cemetery, which a small section is reserved for allied serviceman, as the vast majority of the burials in here are German.
Ernest is buried in Plot VII, Row B, grave 40.
He is also commemorated on the Runcorn War Memorial on Greenway Road
An article was printed in the Northwhich Guardian, that stated that a colleague had him dying in his arms, when in fact he was still alive when the Germans captured him.
Here is the article.
A second bereavement has been sustained by a Barnton family by the death in action of Private Ernest Piggott, of the Cheshire Regiment. A comrade writing to the deceased’s sister, Mrs Hayes of 263 runcorn Road says that whilst retiring from one of the trenches he saw Private Piggott on the ground. He picked him up, but he died in his arms. Private Piggott, who was 29 years of age, had been married only about three months, and his widow lives with his sister. He enlisted soon after the outbreak of war, and had been on active service since July 1915. Formerly he was employed at the Weston Point Salt Works. Another brother, who was called up as a reservist in August 1914, was killed the following October, and there are two other brothers serving at the front.
Elizabeth re-married to a James Murphy in 1936.
The brother mentioned in the above article was Private Thomas Piggott of the Kings Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment) Reg No 8137, who was killed on 13th October 1914 and is buried at Meteren Military Cemetery. He was 33 years old.
Compiled by Graeme Ainsworth with assistance from Percy Dunbavand