Son of Mr. John Hannaghan and Mrs. Elizabeth Anne Hannaghan, of 23, Dane Street, Congleton, Cheshire, 43, Lawton Street, Congleton, Cheshire, and 7, John Street, Congleton, Cheshire and then 11, Heywood Street, Congleton, Cheshire. He had 3 sisters, Annie Jane, Alice and Elizabeth Hannaghan, along with one brother, Vincent Hannaghan.
It appears that somehow, he assumed the name of Whalley. Prior to the war Private Whalley was a Farm Labourer.
Private Ernest Whalley enlisted in the Cheshire Regiment Special Reserve at Macclesfield on the 13th of July 1908, aged 17 years. He was posted for Special Training on the 12th of December 1908, joining the Regular Army on the 12th of June 1909. He was stationed at home from the 17th of June 1909 until 13th of September 1911, when he embarked for India, stationed at Jubbulpore, where he remained until his return to England on Christmas Eve 1914, he remained on leave for three weeks before crossing over to France on the 16th of January 1915 embarking from Southampton to Le Havre. The 2nd Battalion, in the 84th Brigade, 28th Division, went straight into the Ypres Salient in February 1915 and began at once to experience very heavy casualties. On the 5th of February 1915, Private Ernest Whalley and his comrades were in positions at Blauwespoort Farm, just south of the town centre of Ypres (now Leper). No 3 and 4 Companies were ordered forward to support the 1st Battalion, the Suffolk Regiment in the front line. The Battalion's War Diary makes no comment of any casualties, but it is known that an enemy sniper was active in the area the Suffolk's had lost their first casualty to this sniper on that day". There is no record of any action by the Cheshire's on the 8th of February, so it is quite possible that Private Whalley was killed during an isolated incident. He has no known grave and he is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial. It is indeed sad when one reflects that Private Whalley was only 24 years of age and that he had only returned from India a few months ago.
Cheshire County Memorial Project would like to thank John and Christopher Pullen for this reserach on Ernest.