Ernest, the son of Harry and Amelia Reed, was born at Boroughbridge, Yorkshire, England. By the age of fourteen he was apprenticed to his Father who was a Painter and Paperhanger. He served twelve years in the Imperial Services in England before arriving in Australia with his wife and son in 1912. Ernest enlisted at Inverell in January 1916, giving his occupation as Painter and age as twenty nine. He joined with other district men to form the Second Contingent of the Kurrajongs and left Inverell for camp on 29 February 1916.
As a member of the 33rd Battalion he trained at Armidale and Rutherford and attended a Bombing School prior to sailing from Australia on HMAT A30 Borda in October 1916. After arriving in England in January 1917, he was sent to France in March. Ernest was gassed in April 1918, transferred back to England and admitted to 1st Southern General Hospital, Stourbridge, Birmingham. He died of wounds and after a Military funeral, was buried in a polished elm coffin at Stourbridge Cemetery.
Ernest’s personal effects which included a wallet, notebook, pen knife, cigarette case, scissors and two discs were returned to his wife at Inverell.
Private Ernest Reed has his name inscribed on the Inverell Cenotaph and Honor Roll. In 1919 he was one of the 215 men for whom a memorial tree was planted in Kurrajong Parade.