Lance Corporal Ernest William Toten - MM

Date of Birth 3 September 1879
Age at Death 37
Date of Death 7 August 1917
Service Number 30689
Military Service 8th Battalion East Surrey Regiment
Merton Address 46 Cliveden Road, Wimbledon
Local Memorial St. Andrew's Church, Wimbledon

Additional Information

Ernest was born on the 3 September, 1879 in Kensington, to Walter Henry and Mary Ann Toten. He was the middle child of seven, and the oldest son, with older sisters Ellen, Alice, and Edith, and younger brothers Arthur, Alfred, and Frank. His father worked as a builder. The family lived at 2 Holly Terrace and 14 Bridge Street in Brompton, before moving to 107 Beaufort Street in Chelsea.

Ernest attended St Paul’s School in Hammersmith as a boy, before being sent to Latymer School, also in Hammersmith, in October 1887, at the age of 8. He was working as a journeyman builder at the age of 21, and by 31, was a builder and house decorator in his own right. By then, he had moved to Wimbledon, where he was living in a six room house at 46 Cliveden Road along with his widowed mother and his sisters Alice and Edith, who were both still single, and working as a pianoforte teacher and a clerk, respectively.
On the 24 June, 1913, Ernest married Ellen Adelaide Larkin, a 29 year old spinster from Balham, at St. Mary’s Church, Balham, and Ellen moved into the Cliveden Road house.

Despite being married, and in his mid-30s, Ernest still enlisted fairly early on in the war, in November 1914 according to the Wimbledon Roll of Honour, initially serving with the 3rd Battalion of the East Surreys as a private, before moving to the 8th Battalion and rising to the rank of Lance Corporal. He was awarded the Military Medal in July 1917, which was given to soldiers below commissioned rank, “for bravery in battle on land,” and was the equivalent of the Military Cross given to commissioned officers.
Sadly, he was killed less than a month later in Belgium, and left £1481 to his widow, Ellen.


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