Category: Military
Rank: Private
Regiment or Ship: Royal Sussex Regiment and Machine Gun Corps
Service Number(s): 41936
Occupation: Horse driver (probably of a horse and cart)
Date of Birth: 03.01.1898
Place of Birth: Hollington, outside Hastings and St Leonards, Sussex
Date of Death: May 1923
Place of Death: Buchanan Hospital, in St Leonards, Sussex Place of Burial / Memorials:

Plot EDO7, Bexhill Cemetery, buried on 17th May 1923.

All Saints Church memorial

Address: Sidley Cottage, Ninfield Road,, Sidley, Bexhill-on-Sea

Photos and newspaper articles

Family Information


Samuel James Goodsell, born 3rd February 1872 at Westfield Sussex (died 14th February 1952 at Hellingly Hospital) and Mary Ann Goodsell, born 5th April 1867 at Battle (died 17th May 1934 at Bexhill Hospital) who were married in 1893 in Mary Ann’s hometown of Battle.

Samuel James Goodsell (junior) was born in 1894 at Hollington, Sussex (drowned, aged 7, in 1901, off the breakwater at St Leonards.

Alice Goodsell was born 15th January 1896 at Hollington, Sussex

Frank Goodsell was born in 1899 at Hollington, Sussex (Frank was killed during First World War) W0084 GOODSELL Frank (Private)

Arthur Goodsell was born in 1901 at Hollington, Sussex

Alfred Goodsell was born in 1904 at Hollington, Sussex

William George Edward (known as George) was born in 1909 at Hollington, Sussex

The Goodsell family were of modest means with Samuel’s occupation listed as that of a “navvy” in the 1901 census.  By the 1911 census Samuel is working for himself as a chimney sweep and the family are living at Sidley.  During this decade sons were born in St Leonards (Arthur), Herstmonceux (Alfred) and Little Common (George).  It seems that Samuel has endeavoured to better himself as he moved round the district.  From 1911 onward the Goodsell family remained settled in Sidley for many years.  Samuel eventually ran a carrying business from Sidley Stables with Alf.

At some point after the First World War Ernest became engaged to May (surname unknown) but Ernest died before they were married.  May remained close to the Goodsell family and later married.

W0085 (3) GOODSELL Ernest (Private) Frank Winser

Alice Goodsell married Thomas Winser (21.11.1917 at St Peter’s Church in Bexhill.)  They had three daughters, Ernest’s nieces: Kathleen Ivy Alice (born 30.07.1919 at Cowden, Kent, died 09.08.2000 at Guildford), Winifred Edith May (born 06.07.1924 at Cowden, Kent) and Freda Joyce Mary Louise (born 02.01.1933 at Hassocks, Sussex).

W0085 (2) GOODSELL Ernest (Private) Annie Winser

Ernest’s niece, Kathleen, married Richard Atkin (22.06.1940 at Wartling Church in Boreham Street village).  They had six children Gerald Richard Ronald Thomas (09.04.1942 – 28.09.1978), Michael John (born 05.09.1946), Carol Ann (born 08.11.47), Kathleen Helen (born 22.01.1949), Andrew (born 30.12.1951) and Robert Patrick (28.02.1956 – 04.09.2006).  Gerald was born at Hooe near Battle, Sussex while the younger five children were all born at 3 Loseley Park near Guildford in Surrey.

Ernest’s niece, Winifred, married Harold Henry Snelling (08.01.1949 at St John the Evangelist Church in Copthorne near Crawley in Sussex).  They had two children Lynne Jennifer (born 10.03.1951) and Derek Frank (born 11.06.1952).  Both were born at Brook Hill Farm in Copthorne.

Ernest’s niece, Freda, married Victor Frank Jackson (05.06.1954 at St Nicholas’ Church in Compton near Guildford, Surrey).  They had two children Stephen Victor (born 18.09.1959) and Angela Jane (born 22.09.1963).

Ernest’s brother Arthur married Blanche (1928 at Ninfield Church, Sussex) and they had three sons, Basil, who married Margaret, Alan who married Mary and Trevor who remained unmarried – all nephews of Ernest.

Ernest’s brother Alfred married Alice Pettit in Bexhill, in late 1924. They had nine children Jack, Roland, Douglas, Dorothy, Roy, Lillian, Joyce, Phyllis and Joan, all nieces and nephews of Ernest.

Ernest’s youngest brother George married Nellie who tragically died at a young age. He later married Betty and they had one daughter.  About the time of the Second World War they separated.  George was already in the army and during the war he served in Italy, gaining the Military Medal there for bravery during the Battle of Monte Cassino, and in Japan.

First World War Experience

Ernest Goodsell enlisted in the Royal Sussex Regiment No. 41936 at Hastings on 14.05.1916 at the age of 18 years 4 months. Conscription for eighteen-year-olds came in on 25.05.1916 so perhaps Ernest anticipated this by volunteering eleven days earlier.  However, his military records show that he served at home from 09.10.1915.  Perhaps these seven months before formal enlistment were spent in the territorial army or the equivalent of a home guard unit.

On enlistment his stated occupation was that of a horse driver, probably in the family haulage business at Sidley.  Ernest had excellent eyesight but was of slight build, being 5’ 7” tall and weighing only 7st 12lb.  He spent the next five months in Army Reserve undergoing basic training.

On 09.10.1916 Ernest was mobilized and had a medical examination the next day at Chichester. On 11.10.1916 he was posted as a Private to the 4th Royal Sussex Regiment for three months’ training in preparation for service with the BEF in France.  By 12.01.1917 he was posted to the Base Depot in France but within a month on 06.02.1917 he had transferred to the London Regiment of the 15th Royal Irish Rifles No. 44833.  He may have shown aptitude in shooting for he eventually served in the Machine Gun Corps.  There is also this note on his medical history file by the examining medical officer in 1916, “When of age Fit Gun Services”.

Of interest is a telegram dated 05.01.1917 which reads, “the mother of number 414936 (sic) Private Goodsell informs me personally that her son was nineteen on 27th December 1916.  Kindly wire whether he may proceed overseas.  Very urgent.  Commanding 4th Reserve Royal Sussex, Tunbridge Wells.”. This seems to reflect a concern that Ernest might be underage for overseas service.  The minimum age was 19.

Ernest served on the Western Front in France from February to October 1917, suffering a few minor ailments during May and June.  He had boils on his back and an outbreak of eczema but returned to his battalion by the end of June 1917.  However, the harsh conditions continued to take their toll on his health and in October he was transported by Field Ambulance to a Casualty Clearing Station and then to a hospital in Rouen with an abscess in his left groin.  He was then taken to a War Hospital in England and admitted on 23.10.1917 and discharged on 08.01.1918.(Though in England he was unable to attend his sister Alice’s wedding in Bexhill on 21.11.1917.)

On 26.01.1918 Rifleman Ernest Goodsell was “compulsorily transferred” to the Machine Gun Corps (Infantry) at Clipstone Park, Edwinstowe in Nottinghamshire with effect from 28.01.1918.  He was placed in the 84th Training Reserve Battalion.  A note indicates a further transfer to No.4 Battalion of the MGC Clipstone with effect from 01.03.1918.  He was given a last leave with free warrant from 21.02.1918.

On 14.04.1918 Ernest embarked on a troop ship at Folkestone, disembarked at Bologne and joined the Base Depot at Camiers.  He then joined the 34th Battalion of the MGC in the field on 27.04.1918.  Three months later and now in the 18th Battalion, Ernest was wounded in action and suffered a gunshot wound to the neck and face on 29.07.1918. He was taken again to Rouen two days later and then on to Trouville.  By 06.09.1918 he had joined the 18th battalion at Camiers and was back in the field on 19.09.1918.

Scarcely a month later, on 23.10.1918 Ernest was wounded again, this time on his thigh –note the two wound stripes on his left arm in his photograph.  He was again taken to Rouen and then to England on 28.10.1918.

He was admitted to the Edinburgh War Hospital at Bangour near Broxburn, 14 miles from Edinburgh, on 30.10.1918. He was granted leave from 25.11.1918 – 23.12.1918 at his home at Sidley Cottage, Bexhill-on-Sea. He was granted further leave from 09.01.1919 – 30.01.1919.

With the armistice having been signed on 11.11.1918, Ernest was discharged from army service on 23.02.1919.

Compiled by Lynne Wall, New Zealand, grand niece of Ernest Goodsell – 30.05.2014

Additional Information

After Ernest Goodsell’s discharge on 23.02.1919, he was re-enlisted No. 7811265 under an Army Order of 1919. He was granted two further months of leave on full pay from 15.03.1919 – 09.05.1919 as part of the re-enlistment package.

Ernest was given another medical examination at the time of his re-enlistment and declared “fit for the Army.” He was described as having a fresh complexion with grey eyes and fair hair.  The scar of a wound and operation is noted on the outer side of his right thigh.

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