Ernest Carrington Blackburn
Serial Number and Rank: 1291, CPL
Birth: Milton 23 June 1885, 1885/32684
Parents: Henry Carrington and Catherine Blackburn nee Kendall
Enlisted: Newcastle 11 December 1915
Next of Kin. F. Henry Carrington Blackburn of Milton
Service: 35th Battalion, D Company and 9th Fld Amb. RTA October 1915
Death: 29 July 1969 Milton
Marriage: Mary Hart 30 April 1912 St Peters and St Paul CE Milton. May b. 11 July 1898 daughter of John Richard Hart and Isabella Kennedy
Honour Rolls: Milton Church of England
RSL Honour Roll
Milton Town Memorial
Milton Primary School
Ernest Carrington Blackburn was born in 1885 at Milton, son of Henry Carrington Blackburn and his wife Catherine nee Kendall, of Blackburn’s Stores Milton.
Ernie enlisted into the war in December 1915 at the age of 30 years; his occupation was recorded as a storekeeper and appointed to the rank of Corporal, not long after he contacted pneumonia and this delayed his departure for overseas duties.
in April 1916 Walter Chin organised a display of local servicemen photos in the Blackburn’s shop window at Milton. The display contained featured an enlarged photo of his son Fred Chin, surrounded by about 20 smaller sized photos of other Milton lads, all who had gone to the front.
He embarked for war service with the 35th Battalion from Sydney aboard the HMAT Benalla A24 in May 1916. Also aboard was Milton’s Doctor Charles Renwick who was now the medical officer with the 35th Battalion.
Ernie served with the Army Medical Corp and 16th and 17th Field Ambulance in England. Whilst in England he visit was the Milton in Kent England. His trip was reported in the “The East Kent Gazette” 11 November 1916:
War Souvenir for Milton School: This War is bringing together people .living in distant parts of the world who otherwise would never meet. An instance of this was recently furnished at Milton. It will be remembered that a few years ago a Union Jack and friendly greetings were sent from the Milton school, New South Wales to the staff and Scholars of the Council School, Milton Regis. The compliment was returned and thus formed a link between the Australian and Kentish Milton that ought never to be broken. Following this up Mr. and Mrs. Blackburn, of the Australia Milton, after an absence of forty year, a few years ago visited the mother country and naturally paid a visit to Milton Regis. Now the War has brought about a development of this friendship.
A son of Mr. Blackburn’s joined the Australian Expeditionary Force. The son is Corporal Ernest C Blackburn of the Australian Medical Corps. Cpl. Blackburn paid a visit to Sittingbourne and went to look up his father’s Milton friends. During his brief stay here Cpl. Blackburn came in touch with the Y.M. C. A at Sittingbourne and was photographed with a group of other soldiers who use the Y.M.C.A. An enlargement of this group has been made and this week it has been presented by the Y.MC.A. to Milton Council School, the Butts, where it will no doubt occupy a post of honor on the school war gallery. Thus is the friendship between the two Miltons further cemented.
In December 1917 he was transferred to the 9th Field Ambulance for service on the front lines in France. During the war he was on a few occasional in hospital suffering from prepatellar bursitis which is an inflammation of the bursa in the front of the kneecap.
After the war Ernie remained in England, as he had been assigned to non-military employment program, working for Mr. G. C. Blackburn, Ironmonger at Coningsby in Lincolnshire (most likely a family member) who also provided him with free board and lodgings whilst he received full military wages. In the four months Ernest gain some very useful experience in the Ironmongery line, which G. C. Blackburn said would be a great use to him on his return to Australia, Ironmongery is the manufacture of iron goods and, second, to the place of sale of such items for domestic uses in the home.
Ernest requested to leave the program and returned to Australia at his own expense in August 1919 and discharged in December 1919. He received the British War medal and the Victory medal
Ernest Blackburn name is recorded on many local WW1 honour rolls: Milton Town Memorial, Milton Ulladulla RSL Honour Roll, Milton Church of England and the Milton Primary School. On his return to home to Milton he married local girl Mary Hart in 1924, spending their honeymoon in England, Europe and America.
The Blackburn family operated the “Popular Store” at Milton which additions were added to in 1898, so the family ran the general store from Macarthur Store at East Milton which today is the Heritage Pie Shop at Milton during this time. Blackburn Stores “The Settlement” today is still on main feature of our historic village of Milton.