The son of William and Ellen Eastelow, Ernest was born in Wolverhampton in 1890. His mother died in 1898. By 1901, he was living with his father at Court 4, Brickkiln Street, Willenhall, along with his sister Martha and brothers Andrew and John. Later that year, his father married Minnie Alice Deeming, so Ernest gained five step-siblings. Ernest became a lamp dresser.

On 14 February 1908, Ernest enlisted in the 1st Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment (number 8294). This means that, by the 1911 census, he was serving with his regiment in Arabia, Cyprus and Gibraltar. When war broke out, Ernest disembarked on 4 October 1914. He was wounded at Ypres on 30 October 1914, and died “on the field of battle”, according to the Midland Counties Express on 2 January 1915. He is buried at the Ypres Town Cemetery Extension.