Name: Ernest Presland
1890 - 10th March 1919
Place of Birth: Arlesey
Occupation: Worked at Shoolbreds, Department Store, London
Division: 5th Battalion
Regiment: Rifle Brigade
Commemorated: Screen Wall. 121. 41087, Highgate Cemetery, London, England
Person(s) placing the cross on behalf of the Arlesey Remembers You Project: Jodie, Paul & Oliver Chillery
Biography by Vicki Maria
Ernest Presland was born in Arlesey in 1890, the only son of Mr and Mrs Fredk. Presland. He was a member of the Arlesey Wesleyan Choir and Men’s Adult School. Before he joined the 5th Battalion, Rifle Brigade Regiment in February 1916 he worked for Shoolbread’s in London “where he was held in very high esteem”.
In July 1916 he was injured by shrapnel while fighting. He and his wife E Presland had an only child, born in 1918 and they lived in Tuffnell Park, London. Two days after returning to work at Shoolbread’s, Ernest Presland was taken ill with influenza and was admitted to Homerton Military Hospital, Middlesex. He then contracted pneumonia. The doctor said that the effect of the shrapnel wounds he had received during the war was so terrible that he was not strong enough to fight the illness. On the 10th March 1919, 10 days after becoming ill, Ernest Presland passed away, on what would have been his last day of being under military authority.
His military funeral was held on 14th March 1919 at Tufnell Park Cemetery* where his coffin was carried on a gun carriage draped in a Union Jack flag. He was buried with his 9 month old child who died 2 days before him.
Further information by Jodie Chillery
(*as reported in a paper at the time, local to Arlesey, however when visiting Highgate Cemetery where the memorial to Ernest Presland is located, Paul, Jodie and Oliver Chillery learned that there has never been a Tufnull Park Cemetery and this was probably a reporting mistake in the newspaper.
Ernest and his infant child are most likely to have been buried in a communal grave in Highgate, during the flu epidemic. The grave is in the West Side of the cemetery, which is only accessible by guided tour as much of it is unsafe due to unstable ground and wooded areas. There is a commemorative memorial just inside the entrance to the cemetery, this is where the cross is placed, underneath the plaque bearing Ernest Presland’s name.)