"Not Lost But Gone Before"
Big love today goes out to 19 year old Ernie Finch from East London, who had fought gallantly to keep going for four days after being grievously wounded by the high explosive shell which dropped into his 3rd Londons-held front line trench on 21st July 1916 at Foncquevillers (Funky Villas to the Tommies) and which killed outright six of his friends in B Company.
Ernie was the only man hit by the shell whom it did not kill instantly.
He made it as far as the nearest Casualty Clearing Station at Warlincourt and held on but on 25th July, his injuries overwhelmed him.
Back home at 22 Swinburne Avenue, Manor Park, his commercial-clerk Dad Henry and his Mum Clara, along with his big sister Alice and brothers Harry and Albert would choose a lovely epitaph for him: “Not Lost But Gone Before.”
Ernie, you are Not Lost and you are certainly Not Forgotten.