- Tyne Cot Memorial
- Panel: 139
Distinctions and medals
Ernest Gotlop was born in Kensington, Middlesex in 1890. His parents; Solomon and Elizabeth Gotlop originated from present-day Poland and Belarus, then part of the Russian Empire. They married in London in 1868. Solomon owned a tailor shop in Kensington and Ernest started working for his father. Ernest enlisted in West London and by the Battle of Passchendaele he served with the 13th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles, part of the 108th Brigade, of the 36th (Ulster) Division.
On October 16 1917, the 36th (Ulster) Division took up position just South of the village of Sint-Juliaan. The Division advanced with two Brigades. The 109th Brigade on the left of the Divisional front and the 108th on the right. The 16th (Irish) Division was on the right of the 108th Brigade. The Battalions of the 108th Brigade who would take part in the attack were: the 9th Royal Irish Fusiliers and the 13th Royal Irish Rifles; the 12th Royal Irish Rifles were in support and the 11th Royal Irish Rifles were in reserve.
At zero hour 4.45 a.m. the Ernest’s Battalion moved forward behind a creeping barrage. But the 13th Royal Irish Rifles could not keep up with the barrage, due to the boggy state of the terrain. The battlefield was honeycombed with water-logged shell holes and flooded remnants of trenches. On top of the difficult terrain the leading waves came under heavy machinegun- and rifle fire from pill-boxes near Somme. The men eventually passed Somme, but the platoon detailed to capture and clear the strongpoint failed to do so and the Companies were forced to dig in near Somme.
The troops in support and those in reserve were sent forward to reinforce the attack. But their advance was checked by heavy machine-gun fire coming from Gallipoli, Hindu Cottage and Aisne House on the right and Pond Farm and Hindu Cottage on the left. One hour in the attack the Battalion retreated to its jump-off line. Here the remnants of the Battalion were rallied. They were reinforced by men of the Battalion headquarters and tried once more to storm Somme. To no avail. The attack was quickly dispersed by the relentless German crossfire and the men fell back to their starting point. The 108th Brigade’s Battalions were now scattered and intermixed along their original jump-off line. Officers re-organised the men and started consolidating the line. The 108th Brigade was relieved by the 107th Brigade on the next day.
The attack had been a total disaster. The two Irish Divisions booked almost no noticeable progress. No further attacks were launched by the 36th (Ulster) Division on August the 16th. Twenty-seven-year-old Rifleman, Ernest Gotlop was killed in action during the attack on Somme Farm. Ernest has no known grave and is remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial.