Ernest was born in Wolverhampton in 1897, the son of James and Elizabeth Evans. In 1901, the family were living in Kirkdale, Lancashire, and by 1911, the family had moved to 1 Winchester Grove, Wattville Road, Handsworth, and Ernest was living with his parents and siblings Frederick, Henry, Jane, Sarah, John and Edna. Ernest was a jeweller, working for a silversmith.
Ernest served first with the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry (number 18980), and later with the 2nd Battalion of the Hampshire Regiment (number 16050). He was on the HMT Royal Edward transport ship that sunk in the Aegean Sea on 13 August 1915 after being torpedoed. Different sources reported different numbers of casualties, varying from 132 to 1865. The Express & Star on 9 September 1915 reported that Ernest was believed to have drowned. It was later confirmed that he had died at sea at the age of 18. He is remembered on the Helles Memorial in Turkey.