Ernest was Arthur Bell’s cousin as the son of aunt Isabella – who was one of his mother’s younger sisters. Ernest was shown as living with Shop keeper, Isabella and Arthur’s sister Dorothy in Hall Street, Greeheys in 1911. At this time his elder brother Alfred was serving in India with the 1st Battalion Manchester Regiment. His Records show the brothers had spent a period of 1902 in Chorlton Union Workhouse when their father had died. In common with his brother and a large number of his cousins, Ernest enlisted in the Manchester Regiment, posted to B Company of the 5th City ; 20th Battalion.
Ernest had just 54 days service as shown in his Pension Records. He enlisted in Manchester on 17th November `1914, aged 22 years and 5 months. He was discharged as ‘unlikely to be come and efficient soldier (recruit within three months of enlistment, considered unfit for service…) on 9th January 1915 in Morecambe. The limited medical papers indicate chronic diarrhoea and pains. Ernest had confirmed Good military character. He had been employed as a waiter in the Reform Club and previously served in the 1st Cadet Battalion of the Regiment.
Later records courtesy The Manchester & Salford Family History Forum show Ernest went on to serve in the Royal Navy 113363 including HMS Caledonia and later Merchant Navy from 20/9/1918 as an Assistant Steward. He died at sea, aged 42, on 19/10/1935 with the apparent loss of SS Vardulia from Glasgow. His address was noted as 78 Bickley Street, Moss Side.