Ernest enlisted 7 Nov 1939 and was posted to 6th Division Signals and embarked from Sydney aboard HT XI on 4 May 1940 and disembarked at Gourock, Scotland on 17 Jun 1940. He transferred to Force Signals on 26 Jun 1940, was promoted to Acting Corporal on 5 Nov 1940 and after numerous postings in the UK, he embarked from Liverpool, UK, aboard H.M.T. L10 on 14 Nov 1940 and disembarked in the Middle East on 29 Dec 1940. He transferred to Signals 6th Division on 19 Mar 1941. He returned to Australia on 16 Mar 1942 and his rank of Corporal was confirmed on 22 Feb 1943. His service papers have no mention of him going to or returning from TIMOR, but the 2/2 Commando nominal roll has him as joining the unit on Timor as a Corporal in the Signals and Cypher Unit sent from Australia after contact was made with “WINNIE THE WAR WINNER”. There is no date of him leaving the unit, as some of the early embarkation rolls from Timor are missing.
On 15 Jul 1943 his service papers state he embarked from Melbourne on 15 Jul 1943 and disembarking at Port Moresby, New Guinea, on 27 Jul 1943. He is promoted to Acting Sergeant on 26 Apr 1944 and embarks from Lae, New Guinea, aboard "DUNTROON" on 15 May 1944 and disembarking at Townsville on 20 May 1944. He transfers to "Z" Special Unit on 6 Aug 1944 and departed for service outside Australia ("Z" Special members never have where they are going when they leave Australia) on 20 Aug 1944 and is reported MISSING on 21 Aug 1944.
On 18 Mar 1946, he is reported as Killed in Action on 22 Aug 1944. His body was exhumed from Koepang War Cemetery and reburied at Galala War Cemetery, Ambon, Indonesia on 22 Jul 1946 in Plot 19. Row D. Grave 10.
He was entitled to the 1939-45 Star, Pacific Star, War Medal and Australian Service Medal 1939-45, pictured below.