OSBORNE Ernest Charles “Winger”

Ernest Charles “Winger” Osborne was born in 4th Quarter 1894 in Hoxne.

In the 1901 census he was shown, aged 6, living with his father, William, aged 37, a farm horseman (who was born in Wilby, Suffolk) and his mother, Kezia, aged 33, (who was born in Fressingfield, Essex) and 3 siblings, George, aged 10, Elsa, aged 9 and Hessel aged 3.

War and Military: Ernest served with the 1/24 London Regiment Regimental No. 4725 as a Private and was transferred to The Norfolk Regiment Regimental No. 202588. He suffered a gunshot wound to the left hand in August 1918 and was admitted to the Casualty Clearing Station and on to the Hospital on the 23rd August 1918.

It is very likely that Ernest was injured at The Battle of Albert that took place between the 21st and 22nd August 1918. The notes of the battle from The Forces War records state: “Battle of Albert – 21/08/1918. The battle took place at Irles between Albert and Arras. It turned out to be a decisive Allied victory. In holding the German Spring Offensive, the Allies and particularly the B.E.F. took increased confidence in their ability to turn the tide of war in their favour.

Replacement troops, including newly-arrived Americans, and new equipment helped to rebuild after the losses earlier in the year and it was decided by the Allied command to go on the offensive. The Third Army, still under the command of General Byng were to take and hold the alignment of the Arras to Albert railway.

For the first time, the infantry were trained to work in co-operation with the armoured regiments (the new Whippet and Mk V tanks were much improved compared to their predecessors) and to coordinate with the RAF when air cover was needed.

During the battle, Corporal G. Onions, 1st Devonshire Regiment being awarded a Victoria Cross for his action on 22nd August.”

George’s Medal Roll can be seen here.

Post War: Ernest did not live in Badwell Ash at the outbreak of WW1 but moved to the village after the war. When he was 43, he married Alvina Joyce née Robinson, who was 16 years old in the 4th Qtr 1937, in the Hartismere District. Alvina was born on 8th March 1921.


Their first child, Betty was born in early 1938 and it seems likely she was conceived out of wedlock. They went on to have 5 other children. One of his sons, Ivan, was also called Winger.


In the 1939 register he is shown as living in Clay Hill Cottages with Alvina and Betty but according to research within the village they moved to 8, Hunston Road when these “new” council houses became available in 1938/9. According to Phyllis Manning, “Winger” and the family swapped their house in Back Lane with them and then moved to 8 Hunston Road.


Ernest died on the 18th August 1982 aged 87 and is buried in the Richer Road cemetery, Row 15, Plot 4. Alvina died on 27th August 1999, aged 78 and is buried with Ernest in Row 15, Plot 4. They lived in 21 Richer Close.


Ernest Osborne was known as “Winger” due to the fact that he had lost part of one of his arms just above the elbow during the War. He had a specially adapted bicycle to get him to Blacks of Bacton (a fruit farm) where he worked (Thanks to Malcolm Frost).


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