Thursday January 5th, 2017, the Mt Evelyn RSL will be holding a special commemorative service to mark the Centenary of Ernest Albert Pearson being awarded the Military Medal.
In 1916, sixteen year old Ernest Albert Pearson of Ascot Vale lied about his age and enlisted in the AIF. Allotted to the 37th Battalion, where he served as a bugler, he was soon after sent to France.
In his first battle, at Armentieres, he was given the task of delivering a message under fire. This he did successfully but during the fierce artillery barrage that he ran through he lost his bugle and suffered severe shell shock and had to be evacuated to hospital. On January 5th, 1917 he was awarded the Military Medal for his actions on this day.
At the hospital his true age was discovered and he was discharged from the army. Serving as a hospital orderly until he turned 18, he then joined the Australia Flying Corps but didn’t become a pilot until after the war.
His bugle was later found on the battlefield by an English soldier with his initials and unit scratched on it. At the beginning of 2015 his descendants donated the bugle to the Mt Evelyn RSL after an English collector researched the initials to find out who originally owned it. It now sits alongside Ernest Pearson’s ammunition belt which was donated earlier by a Mt Evelyn resident.
Ernest Pearson MM returned to Australia in 1919 and moved to Mt Evelyn in 1930 where he ran the general store next to Mt Evelyn Primary School. He passed away in 1981.
The Commemorative Service will be held on January 5 at the Mt Evelyn Memorial Gardens, Cnr Birmingham Rd and Wray Cres at 11am.