Ernest James Perring was my first cousin four times removed. We are both descended from James Perring and Emma Law who were his grandparents, and my 4th great grandparents. James Perring was an agricultural labourer who lives the entirety of his life in Essex. He and his wife Emma had twelve children of whom I could find record: one daughter and eleven sons. Of these sons, one was my third great grandfather, Walter Perring; one was Joseph Perring who lied about his age to enlist in the war and whose sons, Edmund and Alfred, have also been part of this project; and another was James Perring, Ernest’s father.
At some point between 1841 and 1851, James and Emma Perring and their family were committed to the Saffron Walden Union Workhouse. In the 1851 census, the couple and four of their children are listed as “inmates” at the facility, including three year old James. Fortunately, this wasn’t a permanent situation for them, and by 1861, the family’s fortunes had improved enough that they were no longer in the workhouse.
By the 1871 census, James had married his first wife, Mary Ann Wilkinson, and was working as an agricultural labourer. At some point in the following several years, his first wife died, and in 1878, he married Mary Ann Palmer with whom he raised his two children from his first marriage as well as the five that they had together. By the 1881 census, the family had relocated to Edmonton, Middlesex (London area), and James was working as a “platelayer” which was a railway employee whose job was to inspect and maintain a section of track.
Ernest was born in Edmonton in December of 1883. By the age of 18 he was working as a clerk, and in 1909, at the age of 25, he married Ada Isabel Cresswell. Four children soon followed, as did a change of career, as by 1917, he is recorded as being a “steam bus driver.” Steam busses were common in London and elsewhere as a form of transportation. This experience served him well, as in 1917, he enlisted in the Royal Navy as an Air Mechanic. Upon the formation of the Royal Air Force on April 1, 1918, he was transferred into their service, also as an air mechanic where he served for the duration of the war and through to 1920.
Ernest and Ada lived the duration of their lives in and around London, and Ernest passed away in 1963 at the age of 79.