Ernest Lawrence Garraway was born in the small village of Hurst, Berkshire in 1891 to Joseph Lawrence Garraway and Susan Garraway, née Chipp.
Generations of the Garraway family had lived in the area for over 100 years and in recent generations had become focused as tradesmen, in particular servicng the Haines Hill estate in Hurst. Ernest’s father(Joseph Lawrence), grandfather (also Joseph Lawrence) and great grandfather (George) had all been bricklayers or journeymen but Ernest turned his hand to carpentry on the estate. The picture below shows the Haines Hill estate hands in 1911 and features three of the Garraways.
The 20 year old Ernest is in the back row, 4th from right, with his uncle Fred (also a bricklayer) 2nd from right in the same row. His father, Joseph (Fred’s brother), both a bricklayer and foreman of the Haines Hill estate at the time, is 6th from the left in the second row from the back in a jaunty boater.
Ernest had two brothers, Leonard George (b.1893) and Raymond Arthur (b.1903).
Five years after the photo above was taken, on Friday May 5th 1916, a 26 year old Ernest left England as “Sapper E. Garraway, Reg. No. 137810” to employ his skills as a member of the 41st division of the Royal Engineers with the British Expeditionary Forces in Belgium and France, No. 4 Section, 237 (Reading) Field Company.
During the period 1916 – 1917 Ernest kept a diary of his day-to-day movements and activities on the Western Front. This site and blog is a transcript of that diary, on the 100th anniversary of its creation.