Respiratory disease became rife on the Western Front as the war progressed. A lack of sanitation and trenches full of filthy water soon led to soldiers being hospitalised or out of the font line for a wide range of illnesses and diseases. Among them was Lance Corporal Ernest Edward Liddall, 40th Battalion.
Ernest was a few days shy of his 18th birthday when he volunteered for enlistment. He had spent 3 ½ years in the cadets with the 93rd and it would appear was keen to ‘have a go’. Having been accepted he was allotted to ‘C’ Company of the 40th Battalion. Having completed three months training at Claremont, the Battalion boarded the HMAT A35 Berrima on 1 July 1916.
On 22 August the Berrima reached Plymouth, having made one stop at Cape Town. The following day the 40th Battalion arrived at Lark Hill, on Salisbury Plain. Further training was undertaken in England where the men become fit and proficient soldiers before heading for the Front in late November.
Ernest Liddall was hospitalised on several occasions including twice for tonsillitis and at least once for bronchitis. In a letter written by his father in November 1918, he suggests that Ernest was gassed on three occasions. Whilst this might be true at no time is it recorded that he was wounded in action or that he needed treatment. On 7 November Lance Corporal Liddall was marched out to his unit after being treated for diarrhoea. Five days later he was back in hospital with influenza. He was then transferred to the 3rd Australian General Hospital at Abbeville where he died from broncho-pneumonia on 11 December 1918. His remains were laid to rest in the Abbeville Communal Cemetery Extension, France. His personal effects were later returned to his parents.