Born in Cotherstone, Ernest was the youngest son of William Porter and Elizabeth (nee Raine). They married in Laithkirk in 1877. We know from a Teesdale Mercury article (see below) that Ernest had at least one older sister, Barbara Sarah. He also had three brothers, Charlie (1879), George Parkin (1886) and Joseph Henry James (1881) who also served in the War (see separate entry on the database).
William was a Sanitary Inspector and Surveyor. He was too old to serve in the war but was co-opted as a Food Inspector. Charlie and George both left the district before the War and it is not known whether they saw active service.
Ernest also had several other relatives in Teesdale who also served in the war (see separate entries on the database): Adam Bainbridge and John Joseph Bainbridge (of Forest and Frith); Frederick Porter and John Henry Porter (of Kinninvie Marwood); John William Porter (of Barnard Castle); Arthur Edwin Raine and William Stanley Raine (of Middleton in Teesdale); Herbert Dennis Raine, Edward Richard Raine and George McKenzie Raine (from Low Selset - Lunedale); Arthur Henry (Harry) from Ingelton; and Edgar Heslop (from Marwood).
A detailed record of Ernest's life and war service and many relatives in Teesdale with sources - courtesy of Philip A Wilde and briefly summarised below - is available from the Bowes Museum Archive.
Ernest enlisted on 26th January 1916 and was posted to the 80th Infantry Reserve Battalion (originally, the 32nd Northumberland Fusliers). In June of that year, he transferred to the 1/5th Battalion, King's Own Royal Lancaster, which formed part of the 166th Infantry Brigade within the 5th Army's 55th (West Lancashire) Division. Ernest was mobilised on 27th February 1917 and fought in the '3rd Ypres' campaign. In July, his battalion moved to Poperinghe. Ernest saw action in the trenches close to Wieltje, during the first major assault of the '3rd Ypres' at 'Pilkem Ridge', and at the 'Battle of the Menin Road Bridge'.
Ernest suffered serious injuries during the '3rd Ypres' campaign, although it is not known exactly how and where. Family accounts suggest that he was gassed, shell shocked, suffered a bayonet wound to the leg and a shattered jaw. Only the latter has been substantiated. Ernest was invalided back to the UK and was admitted to the Queen Alexandra Military Hospital on 26th September 1917. He was discharged on 31 January 1918 but, seemingly, spent time in hospital elsewhere because, by the time Ernest was granted hospital leave to be best man at the wedding of his sister, Barbara Sarah, in November 1918, he had been hospitalised for 14 months. See the Teesdale Mercury 13 November 1918: Pretty Cotherstone Wedding. In September 1918, Ernest had been invited to Windsor Castle in recognition of his injuries.
In February 1919, Ernest was transferred to the Army Reserve. After demobilisation, Ernest he went to live in Brandon Village where he married Winifred Storey, a local School Teacher. Nothing has been found to suggest that Ernest received any compensation or army pension. He worked as a Clerk at Browney Colliery and later as an Estate Agent. He kept close contact with Teesdale and, following his Father's death, he took over his role as Steward for the Bowes and Romaldkirk Charity.
Ernest found later life difficult. He reportedly underwent 20 operations including insertion of a shoulder blade and a rib graft to his jaw. His wife sold her school in Western Hill, Durham and the couple returned to Cotherstone to live in Marwood Terrace. Ernest died in 1950 at the age of 60 from heart failure.
In addition to his British and Victory Medals, Ernest kept a Royal Tank Regiment badge alongside his own cap badge.