Victoria Cross war hero honoured on centenary of his commendation

PUBLISHED: 08:20 22 September 2018

Ernest Seaman. PHOTO: Norwich City Council

Ernest Seaman. PHOTO: Norwich City Council


A First World War hero will be honoured in Norwich to mark 100 years since he was awarded the highest military decoration.

Unlikely hero: Ernest Seaman in the uniform of the Army Service Corps having been rejected as physically unfit for combat service.Unlikely hero: Ernest Seaman in the uniform of the Army Service Corps having been rejected as physically unfit for combat service.

Ernest Seaman, of the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, was awarded the Victoria Cross in 1918 and his will be the final of three commemorative stones laid to remember local heroes.

Aged just 25, Ernest, known as Ernie, was killed when he and his battalion were involved in the fighting north of the Menin Road near Terhand, Belgium, on the Ypres salient. King George V personally presented the Victoria Cross medal to Mr Seaman’s mother at Buckingham Palace on 13 February 1919.

On Saturday, September 29 at Norwich War Memorial on St Peters Street, members of the public are invited to join the lord mayor of Norwich Martin Schmierer, and Archdeacon of Norwich Karen Hutchinson for a ceremony. The commemorative stone, which will be laid in front of Norwich War Memorial, will be unveiled from 11-11.30am.

Mr Schmierer said: “Everyone is welcome to join us as we remember Ernie, and honour all those who have fought for our country. Laying the third and final stone of this kind promises to be a special and poignant occasion for the city, especially in this year marking 100 years since the end of the First World War.”

Norwich War Memorial. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018Norwich War Memorial. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018

Mr Seaman was born to Mrs Sarah Seaman at 9 Derby Street, North Heigham, Norwich, in 1893. His mother later married Edward Palmer, landlord of the King’s Head Inn at Scole where he attended the Council School. Mr Seaman immigrated to Canada in 1912.

He returned to England in 1915 specifically to volunteer for the army but was turned down as medically unfit. He did manage to get into the Army Service Corps, Expeditionary Force Canteens, where he was employed as a baker in France. By 1917 they needed more men for the front. He passed a less stringent medical and joined The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Mr Seaman had been recommended for the Military Medal for regular devotion to duty and for voluntarily attending to wounded comrades under heavy fire. He was promoted to Lance Corporal in early September 1918.

Mr Seaman has no known grave but he is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium (Panel No.70).

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