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RAMC profile of:
Ernest Octavius WIGHT M.R.C.P., D.P.H.

Place or Date
of Birth:
Shinfield, Reading on 29th May 1858

Service Number:

TF Number:

Rank: Col

Unit: Army Medical Services

Attached To: A.D.M.S. - 49th (West Riding) Division

Enlistment Location:

Also Served: see below

Outcome: Killed in action

Date Died: 19/12/1915
Age Died: 57

Where Buried and/or Commemorated: Belgium - Ferme-Olivier Cemetery / Woodern Memorial Grazeley near Reading, UK


Gazette Reference:

Other Information:

Ernest qualified L.R.C.P., M.R.C.S. in 1881. He joined the Medical Services on 4th February 1882 at the rank of Surgeon Captain, and saw service in the Lushai Expedition, Burma in 1892 - for this he was decorated with the medal with clasps. He was also awarded the Bronze Medal of Royal Humane Society and two vellum testimonials, a report from the Annual Report for 1892 states: “Wight, E.O., Surgeon Captain, Medical Staff Case 26159 Halsey, J.J., Private, Royal Rifles - At great personal risk, rescued a private of the 4th Madras Pioneers from drowning at Burmah, on the 7th May 1892.” During this time, on 4th Feb 1894, he was promoted to Major. On 4th February 1902, Ernest gained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. In 1902 he also qualified D.P.H., R.C.P.S. in London, and was a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Public Health. He retired with pay on 6th March 1907. On the formation of the Territorial Force he accepted the post of Deputy Assistant Director of Medical Services of the Home Counties Division at Hounslow, and was employed in this capacity when war broke out. He remained with the Home Counties Division on mobilization and went with it to Maidstone, to Canterbury, and then to Windsor. In April that year he was offered the post of Assistant Director of Medical Services of the 49th (West Riding) Division which had been ordered abroad, and he was serving in this capacity at the time of his death. He was killed by a shell on the bank of the Yser Canal near Ypres, whilst attempting to save lives and assisting to extricate some of his motor ambulances from a dangerous position. One of his senior officers in writing of him said: “He was a man who had become proverbial as one who had no fear; one of the most gallant gentlemen I have ever met, and who was an object of devotion and reverence to his own officers and men, ever setting them a fine example of duty before all; one who was beloved and respected by all ranks. All mourn him, as they have not only lost a true friend, but also a wise director and an original and clever organizer of things for their good, one whose whole heart and soul was in his work.” [Taken from the Times 28/12/1915]. He is also commemorated on a brass plaque on the wall of a church in Grazeley, a small village some 5 miles SW of Reading, which was erected by brother Medical Officers of the VI Army Corps. Ernest was the youngest son of the late Dr. Robert Wight, M.D., F.R.S., East Indian Companys Service of Grazeley Lodge, Shinfield, near Reading. and the late Mrs. Wight, of Grazeley Lodge, Shinfield, West Reading; and husband of Janet Wight of Merivale, Heston, Hounslow.

Additional Information: Date Added: Monday 13 July, 2015
Ernest's final resting place [Photograph courtesy of Mark Banning]

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