Amazingly, and against all the odds, his full service papers have also survived. In his casualty report he is seen as being wounded on 3rd July, which is known to be incorrect. The casualty reports pretty much all give dates of 3rd & even 4th July for most of these men who later perished from their wounds. The truth is that they were ALL taken down on 1st July. The even greater tragic truth for Ernest, like so many thousands of the other men who became casualties on 1st July, is that they lay, terminally wounded, in many cases for days before rescue. In the case of Ernest he lay dying for three days before being found. He subsequently died of his wounds at 20th C.C.S. on 7th July 1916, almost certainly of blood loss, gangrene or septicaemia. As with so many men, had he been found earlier, his life may well have been saved, but there were just too many men to deal with.The Robin Hoods went over the top at 07:30 on 1st July and were slightly assisted by their own smoke screen, but it wasn't long before the first casualties began falling before the German machine guns. Ernest was in 'C' company and it was A, B & C Companies, a force of 600-700 men who were in the first wave and as such were almost wiped out in the first minutes of initial assault. They were killed and fatally wounded in their hundreds by the German 91st Reserve Regiment defenders. A Private Stevenson, who had miraculously survived the ordeal, immediately sent home a postcard to allay the fears of his relatives. In it he commented, accurately:-
“I’m sorry to say that Nottingham will be plunged into mourning when the casualty lists are published.”
Ernest was a prolific letter writer, and included here are 50 unique and superbly and clearly hand written letters to his sister & mother who then resided at 42 RAGLAN STREET, PEAS HILL ROAD, NOTTINGHAM.His last letter, dated 25th June 1916 clearly but subtly conveys that he is soon expecting to be in action.Ernest is remembered with honour at WARLINCOURT HALTE BRITISH CEMETERY, SAULTY. We also know that Ernest was a very bright student as we also have here all his school reports for 1900-01-02 from SYCAMORE ROAD SCHOOL, NOTTINGHAMwhere he excelled,eventually reaching 1st position in his class of 40 pupils.
" A MAGNIFICENT & HISTORICALLY IMPORTANT"1st DAY of THE SOMME"COMPLETE "RUSSELL FAMILY" CASUALTY ASSEMBLY.( Two Brothers & and a Brother in Law)Totally complete with all medals, plaques, scrolls, envelopes, photographs, etc, etc, etc. Also, over 75 Unique hand written letters from the trenches to family in Nottingham from July 1915 to 25th June 1916,( The Last Letter from Ernest ) Never before in our professional experience have we ever encountered a more historically important and complete assembly than this. If you live in Nottingham, collect Robin Hoods medals, or are a local Museum Curator, please speak to your trustees as this is a MUST HAVE grouping. To: Two brothers in 1/7th NOTTS & DERBY, & 2/4th WEST RIDING Regt & A Surviving Brother in Law in R.G.A. (BROTHER ONE)1914-15 Star Trio, Dog Tag, Plaque, 2 Scrolls & Papers.3132. L/Cpl E.E.RUSSELL. "C" Coy. 1st/7th Bn SHERWOOD FORESTERS( Notts & Derby Regt.)"THE ROBIN HOODS" Ernest Russell was FATALLY WOUNDED, Age 25, on the 1st JULY 1916 during the assault on the GOMMECOURT SALIENT.
The 1/7th Notts & DERBY REGT landed in France on 28th February 1915 with the rest of the 46th Division. The Battalion saw heavy fighting at the Battle of Hohenzollern Redoubt—a subsidiary action of the Battle of Loos—which was their first major action of the war. The battalion was heavily involved in the First Day of the Somme on 1 July 1916 and the brigade they were part of sustained very severe casualties in the attack on the Gommecourt Salient.