Published By Joan Zorn
Ernest Robert Desborough was the second youngest of 6 brothers and 2 sisters. His family had originally come from Herefordshire and had also lived at Denbigh, where Ernest was born in 1889. Their father, William, was a poultry dealer, assisted by Ernest and his brothers. The family lived at 15 Rope Walk and then at 5 Castle Square, Albert Road. Their mother died in 1906. No record of their father can be found after 1901 but he was still alive in 1919 (Soldier’s effects lists him as beneficiary). By the time of the war they were living in Beatrice Street. The CWGC has the address of a shop at 17 Willow Street, where they must have moved later in the war, this was presumably where the family poultry business was located.
Ernest enlisted at Oswestry and was posted to 9 Bn KSLI, a training and reserve battalion. The 9 Bn did not see overseas service and was stationed at Prees Heath Camp near Whitchurch for the duration of the war. Ernest died of Corporal 1590 Rowland Evans and Private 158 Edward Farmer). Ernest was buried at Oswestry Cemetery and is also commemorated at Holy Trinity Church, Oswestry where his initials are incorrectly given as ‘E K’.on 14 May 1916. His Soldier’s Effects records him as having died at Prees Heath and inadmissible for any medals for having no overseas service and less than six months service, so he must have joined late in 1915. There are no details of when or how he contracted TB but he would have probably been ill for some time, his ill health meaning he was not fit to serve and had been or would have been discharged under . (see also
There is evidence to suggest that there was TB within the family made worse by 10 people living in what would have been a 2 up 2 down terrace house and the possibility of contracting TB from the poultry business. Of his siblings, George would die age 30 in August 1911, John age 31 and Kate age 21 both in April 1914. Brother Albert, also enlisted as a volunteer serving in the 6 Bn KSLI and later transferring to King’s Liverpool Regiment and then to Royal Welsh Fusiliers labour corps. He was wounded in August 1915 and was subsequently discharged in September 1918, he died age 36 in July 1923. Of the other 2 brothers, William died in 1921 and Thomas in 1923.