Ernest Benness was born in 1890 in Wolverhampton, the son of Frederick William and Catherine Benness. In 1901 they were living at 113 Merridale Street, together with Ernest’s brother Frederick W. L., and sisters Ann Maud, Ethel M. and Florence C. Ernest married Lillian B. Milton in 1912, and the couple had four children – Ernest H., Wilfred, Frederick D. and Ethel – betwen 1913 and 1917.
Ernest initially enlisted for the South Staffordshire Regiment as a Private (number 24052), before moving to the 1st Battalion of the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) (number 41025). On 29 May 1917, the Express & Star included him in a list of wounded local men. He died on 13 April 1918, although it is not clear whether this was as a result of the earlier wounds. He is commemorated at the Ploegsteert Memorial in Belgium. Sadly, his son Fred was to die in the Second World War in Sicily.