Ernest Seaman

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Ernest Seaman
VCErnestSeaman.jpg
Born 16 August 1893
Norwich, Norfolk
Died 29 September 1918 (aged 25)
Terhand, Belgium
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Rank Lance-Corporal
Unit Army Service Corps
The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
Battles/wars World War I
Awards Victoria Cross
Military Medal

Ernest Seaman VC MM (16 August 1893 – 29 September 1918) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

Ernie was born in a small village near Norwich, then while he was still a young boy his mother remarried and his family moved to Scole. On leaving school he worked for a while as a page boy in the Grand Hotel in Felixstowe. He had a few other jobs before signing up to go and fight for his country.

Classified as unfit for active front line service he ended up as a baker in the Army Service Corps of the British Army. It was not until late in the war that he was allowed to join a front-line unit.

He was 25 years old, and a lance-corporal in the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.

On 29 September 1918 at Terhand, Belgium, when the right flank of his company was held up by enemy machine-guns, Lance-Corporal Seaman went forward under heavy fire with his Lewis gun and engaged the position single-handed, capturing two machine-guns and 12 prisoners, and killing one officer and two men. Later in the day he again rushed another enemy machine-gun post, capturing the gun under very heavy fire. He was killed immediately afterwards, but it was due to his gallant conduct that his company was able to push forward to its objective.

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A copy of his medal is held in the Officers Mess at The Royal Logistic Corps Museum (Camberley, Surrey, England). The original is kept in a bank vault.

Ernie is commemorated at Tyne Cot Cemetery (Panel No. 70), the memorial to the 36th Division at the Ulster Tower near Thiepval on the Somme, Felixstowe War Memorial (Suffolk), and the Scole War Memorial (Norfolk).

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