Ernest Matthews Yendall

Information about birth

Year of birth:
Place of birth:
Exminster, Devon, England, United Kingdom

General information

Last known residence:
Exeter, Devon, England, United Kingdom
Grocery clerk

Army information

England, United Kingdom
British Expeditionary Force
Service number:
Enlistment place:
Exeter, Devon, England, United Kingdom
 —  Devonshire Regiment, 1st Bn.  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
Place of death:
Cameron Covert, Zonnebeke, Belgium
Cause of death:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)


Tyne Cot Memorial
Panel: 40A

Distinctions and medals 2

Points of interest 4

#1 Place of birth
#2 Last known residence
#3 Enlistment place
#4 Place of death (approximate)

My story

Ernest Matthews Yendall was born in Exminster, Devon, England, in 1895. In 1911, he worked as a grocery apprentice in Exeter, where the family lived. During the war, Ernest enlisted in Exeter and was taken on by the 1st Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment, part of the 95th Brigade of the 5th Division.

On 4 October 1917, the 5th Division took part in the Battle of Broodseinde, a stage in the Battle of Passchendaele. The 1st Devons remained in reserve until the night of 3 to 4 October, when they advanced to their assembly area just east of Veldhoek, between the Menin Road and Polygon Wood. The advance was difficult, 'the tracks were slippery, the Germans shelled vigorously and there were many casualties'. At 6am on 4 October 1917, the 5th Division attacked with the 13th and 95th Brigades. The 95th Brigade's attack, on the left, was carried by the 1st Devons and the 1st Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry. The 1st East Surreys were in support and the 12th Gloucesters in reserve. The objective was Cameron Covert. During the attack the Devons had to keep in touch with the 13th Brigade, whose objective was Polderhoek Château. The terrain was terrible. Deep bogs and wide swamps meant the battalions had to swerve through No Mans’ Land, which was full of German troops who had gathered for an attack of their own. The 1st Devons managed to capture Cameron Covert, except for a swamp on the south side, which proved impassable. The connection with the 13th Brigade on the right was lost, which continued its advance towards Polderhoek Château. The ruins of the castle were heavily fortified and lay on a ridge from which German machineguns could cover the area, including the only possible passage across the Reutelbeek. German resistance was too strong and the 13th Brigade had to fall back, and had to dig in just west of the Polderhoek forest.

Casualties of the 1st Devons were high. 56 men were killed, 194 wounded, 53 were reported missing. Ernest Matthews Yendall, 22, fell on 4 October 1917. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, panel 40A.

Sources 5

1 Devonshire Regiment (The National Archives, Kew (TNA) WO 95/1579/3).
Sources used
Atkinson C.T., The Devonshire Regiment 1914-1918 (Vol I), (Exeter, Elan Brothers, 1926) 278-280.
Sources used
British Army World War I Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920 (The National Archives, Kew (TNA), WO 372).
Sources used
Census Returns of England and Wales, 1911 (The National Archives, Kew (TNA), RG14).
Sources used
McCarthy Chris., Passchendaele. The Day-by-Day Account (London, Unicorn Publishing Group, 2018) 108-109.
Sources used

More information 3