Ernest Henry Hammond
Sergeant, London Regiment (Queen’s Westminster Rifles)
Ernest Henry Hammond was a student at Alleyn’s until 1902 and lived at 279 Upper Norwood Road, Herne Hill during this time. Before joining the war effort, Ernest had already gained some valuable military training and experience as part of the Territorial Force, which he volunteered for from 1909-12. After the outbreak of war in August 1914, he decided to join the military once again and enlisted in August 1914 as part of the London Regiment (Queen’s Westminster Rifles). Shortly before going overseas to the Western Front with the regiment, Ernest received a promotion to Sergeant in December 1914 after proving himself to be a skilled soldier and capable leader. In June 1916, the Queen’s Rifles were sent overseas to the Western Front in France where they spent the next 5 months holding part of the British line at Neuville St. Vaast. The regiment took part in no major actions during this time and was later transferred to the Eastern Front to serve in Salonica as part of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF). In October 1916, Ernest took part in a number of operations as part of this campaign as the British attempted to make gain ground and push back the Turkish forces in the area. It was during this time that he became injured after suffering from inflammation in his right leg, listed as ‘ICT’ on his casualty, an abbreviation often used by nurses in the war to refer to ‘Inflammation of Connective Tissue’. After a short spell recovering from this injury, Ernest returned to his regiment on the Eastern Front where he continued to serve until late 1918. In October 1918, the Queen’s received orders to report back to the Western Front where they remained until the conflict came to a close in November 1918. After the end of the war, Ernest returned home to England and was later awarded the British War and Victory Medal for his service.
With thanks to Steve Hammond (no relation), researcher into the Queen's Westminster Rifles, for providing the photograph.