Ernest William Frost Hammond MC

Cathy Linacre

Head of Reference Service (RICS)

Many chartered surveyors won gallantry medals during the First World War but unfortunately these were only listed in our transactions in the early days of the war. However a list in the 1915 volume lists one medal from almost exactly 100 years ago.

Ernest William Frost Hammond was awarded the Military Cross on 30 October 'for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during the bomb fight at Sanctuary Wood on 30 September when, although severely wounded in the right side during the afternoon and unable to use his right arm, he remained at the front using his left arm until after nightfall, when his wound compelled him to retire'.

This action was part of the Battle of Loos which was fought from 25 September – 18 October 1915. This battle saw the first British use of poison gas and led to the replacement of Field Marshal Sir John French by Field Marshal Douglas Haig as Commander of the British Expeditionary Force. The battle is described by Robert Graves in his memoir 'Goodbye to all that'.  The Surveyor’s Institution lost nine members in the Battle of Loos.

In the 1911 census Ernest was living at 40 Redbourne Avenue, Church End, Finchley with his widowed mother, Jane Agnes Hammond, his older brother Herbert Alfred, listed as a law student, and his sister Lucy Phyllis, listed as a scholar. Ernest is listed as a land surveyor’s assistant. Our yearbook lists him as working for Mr Leslie Raymond, The Estate Office, Golders’s Green before the war and he is a professional associate.

Sadly Ernest was later killed in action on 3 May 1917 at Arras, probably in the Second Attack on Bullecourt which took place on that day. He is remembered on the Arras Memorial as there is no known grave.  He was 27 when he died. Our transactions list him as a Captain but the Arras Memorial as a Second Lieutenant. He was listed as being in the Honorary Artillery Company. 

Two other members of the Surveyors Institution died on the same day as Ernest and are also remembered on the Arras Memorial, Second Lieutenant Charles Evelyn Ellis also from the Honorary Artillery Company and Second Lieutenant William Henry Howatt of the Scottish Rifles.

I have now completed my research on the members named in the Roll of Honour in the transactions. If anybody is looking for information on a member who fought in the First World War I would be happy to try to help. Please feel free to email me clinacre@rics.org.

Image © Crown Copyright 2007  (https://www.defenceimagery.mod.uk/)

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