Ernest William Serls

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Ernest William Serls
Serls Ernest.jpg
Australia's Fighting Sons of the Empire p.142
Personal Information
Date of Birth 9 Jul 1889
Place of Birth Fremantle, Western Australia
Death 4 Oct 1917
Place of Death Hill 40 near Zonnebeke, Belgium
Age at Enlistment 26 years, 9 months
Description 5'6½" (1.69m) tall ; 140 lbs
63.503 kg
; fresh complexion ; brown eyes ; black hair
Occupation Firewood Contractor
Religion Congregational
Address 'Hillside', Armadale, Western Australia
Next of Kin Father , Mr M. Joseph Serls
Military Information
Reg Number 2410
Date of Enlistment 5 Apr 1916
Rank Corporal
Unit/Formation 44th Battalion, 4th Reinforcement to 13th Platoon, D Company / 11th Brigade 4th Division
Date of Embarkation 13 Oct 1916 ‒ 12 Dec 1916
Ship Embarked On HMAT A39 Port Macquarie
Fate Killed in Action 4 Oct 1917 on Hill 40
Monument Armadale War Memorial (Bedfordale panel)
Bedfordale Roll of Honour
Armadale Congregational Church Honour Board
Armadale and Districts Roll of Honour
Australian War Memorial
Medals British War Medal
Victory Medal

Pre War

Electoral Roll entry - 1916 labourer living in Armadale.

War Service

Fit for Service ......E.W. Serls, Armadale.[1]

Entered Blackboy Hill camp on 4 May 1916 and was initially allocated to the 67th Depot Company. On 20 Jun 1916 his training had advanced sufficiently for him to be posted to the 4th reinforcement group for the 44th Battalion, and he travelled with them to England. Following his arrival in England, Ernie was posted to 11th Training Battalion before then proceeding on the SS Invicta to France through Folkestone on 4 Feb 1917.

Ernie joined the 44th Battalion on 6 Feb 1917 while they were in the line near Armentiès in cold and frosty weather. He obviously performed well in his new unit, as on 11 Sep 1917 he was promoted Corporal.

In the early morning of 4 Oct 1917, the 44th Battalion was involved in an attack on the German lines east of Ypres. This battle became known as the Battle of Broodseinde. Although the battalion obtained their objectives, while suffering what were described as 'reasonably light casualties', Ernie Serls was one of them. Neville Browning's book explains that "Corporal E.W. Serls and Private F.D. McCann were sent from 'D' Company to B' Company with a message, but were both killed enroute during the bombardment."[2]

Red Cross file [3]. statement by WEG Dods 876;

"I knew Serls, he had just been promoted Corporal. He was killed at Hill 40 by a shell, I attended his funeral there which was conducted by a padre. He was found lying dead next to Mc Cann...."

Ernie was mentioned in The Drill of the Foot-Hills 1917 Feb-Mar edition, but without any detail.

  • Image courtesy Neville Browning
  • Serls EW2.jpg
  • Serls grave.jpg
  • Tyne Cot Cemetery, Belgium
  • Commonwealth War Graves Commission


Buried in TYNE COT CEMETERY, BELGIUM - Plot XLI; Row B, Grave 20 . located 9 Kms north-east of Ieper (Ypres) town centre, on the Tynecotstraat, a road leading from the Zonnebeekseweg.


  1. "CALL TO ARMS". The Daily News. XXXV, (12,841). Western Australia. 5 April 1916. p. 6 (THIRD EDITION). Retrieved 25 July 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  2. 'The Westralian Battalion - The Unit History of the 44th Battalion A.I.F., Neville Browning, Advance Press, 2004, page 183
  3. "Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Files - Ernest William Serls". Australian War Memorial. 2018. Retrieved 2 May 2018. 

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