Ernest Stephen Dexter died from wounds after being severeley injured in the closing stages of the Battle of the Somme. He was born in Barrowden, the son of Stephen and Helen Dexter and brother of Sydney Dexter who was also killed in the First World War. He married Emily Beatrice on 12 September 1905 at Glaston and the couple had three children: Emily Doris, born in June 1906, Cyril who was born in December 1909 and Joseph born in November 1914. The family were living at Mill House when the First World War broke out and Ernest was working at the Wakerley and Pilton Ironstone Mines. We think he had also spent time in Mansfield earlier in his life, working as a servant. Ten days before his youngest son was born, Ernest joined the 2nd/5th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment. He spent time in Ireland during the Easter Rising before being sent to France in September 1916 with the Machine Gun Corps and taking part in the Battle of the Somme. He was part of 149 Company, 50th Division which was holding part of the line at Bazentin-Le-Grand. On 14 November the Company took part in an attack which was only partially successful. The war diary says: "Objectives [were] gained but only one gun team and two other men got into position in captured positions" at a cost of 25 causualties. Two days later, Ernest's Company would support 4th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment in an attack on Hook Saps and the strongly defended Gird Line. On the following day Ernest was severely wounded. He was brought out of the line and transferred to hospital in Rouen where one of his legs had to be amputated. His condition worsened as his wounds became infected. Just before he died on 25 November he managed to dictate a last letter to his family which the hospital chaplain wrote on his behalf. In it, he said: "The shrapnel has turned out to be poisonous so Daddy has only one leg now. But, after all, we have tons to be thankful for. Don't worry in the least, as everyone is most kind... If all goes well, I am sure to come to England and I hope it will not be long before we meet." Ernest died the day after his son's second birthday and was buried at nearby St. Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen, grave O.II.N.1. The inscription on his grave reads: "Hush. Blessed Are the Dead." He is remembered on Barrowden's war memorial. At the time of his death, his family were living in The Drift in the village.
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