Ernest Bateman was born on 15 January 1892, the son of John (a canal boatman) and Susannah Bateman (nee Turner). In the 1901 census he was living with his parents at 49 Wolverhampton Street, Bilston, together with his five brothers (John, Thomas, James, Edward and George), two sisters (Clara and Alice), and a lodger (presumably a relation), Benjamin Bateman. His two older brothers were canal boatmen, like their father. The family were living at the same address by 1911, although Ernest’s father had died, and the only remaining siblings living at that address were Edward, George and Alice, along with the same lodger. By this date, Ernest had become a stable lad for a coal dealer, and his place of birth was now given as Coseley. On 29 June 1913, Ernest married Ethel Barker at St Leonard’s Church in Bilston, and they had a daughter, Ethel Gwendoline, born 21 December 1913 at 20 Lord Street, Bilston.
Ernest enlisted in the 1/6th Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment in Wolverhampton on 3 September 1914, and he was given the Regiment number 7833. This was later changed to 240474. He embarked from Southampton on 2 March 1915, arriving at Le Havre the following day. Ernest suffered bouts of illness, particularly scabies, and was admitted to hospital on 22 October 1915. He was wounded on 19 August 1917, but “remained at duty” until he was demobilised in February 1919. His entry in the Newhampton Road Wesleyan Church Roll of Honour 1914-1919 confirms that he was “wounded while on active service, being lamed permanently.” His death was registered in December 1970.