(Photo credit: Michael Caldwell)
Ernest Head was born at Westminster, the fourth child of John Head, a messenger, and his wife Maria Elizabeth, who both originated from Wymondham, Norfolk. His claimed date of birth on RN entry was 27 December 1880, although the year is more likely to have been 1879.
Ernest joined the Royal Navy at Chatham in November 1897, stating his previous occupation as cabin boy. After training in HMS IMPREGNABLE and HMS GANGES, he served as a Boy 1st Class in HMS AGINCOURT and HMS JUPITER and was rated Able Seaman in April 1900. Further employment followed in the battleships HMS COLOSSUS and ALBION, and the sloop HMS ROSARIO on the China Station. From 1906 to 1908 he served in the battleship HMS TRIUMPH. In October 1908 he undertook Torpedo training at HMS ACTAEON (attached to VERNON) gaining his Torpedoman qualification.
From January 1909 he was on the books of the submarine depot ship HMS VULCAN, hosting the 7th Submarine Flotilla, then at Dundee. Apart from a couple of months at the end of 1910 in the minesweeper HMS HEBE, he remained with the 7th Flotilla, being rated Leading Seaman in May 1913. A full record of submarines he served in is not known, but on 5 September 1914 he was washed overboard and drowned from HMS C19, at that time undertaking Tyne patrols as a tender to HMS ALECTO.
He is buried at Preston Cemetery, North Shields and left a widow, Georgina, whom he had married in 1911, and four children (including two from her previous marriage). She was awarded a pension of 21 shillings a week.