Ernest Pearce was born on 9 September 1880 in Thame, Oxfordshire the son of John Pearce, a cooper (born 1833 in Thame) and Mary (née Rolfe, born 1836 in Brill). They married late 1860 in Thame.
His siblings were Mary Elizabeth (1861-1950), Charles William (1864-1896), Alfred (1865-1944), Fred (1867-1925), Kate Eleanor (1870-1933), Clara (b.1871), Emma (b.1875), Alice (b.1877), and Mary (b.1879).
On the 1881 census the family were living at the Seven Stars Inn, Thame, Ernest was listed as aged 6m. In 1891 the family was at 13 Moffatt Street, Bray, Maidenhead, Berkshire. Only the youngest children, Alice Mary and Ernest, were still at home. Alfred was living with an older brother, Charles 27, potman and barman, his wife Adelaide and baby daughter Alice M, at 3 Hobbs Place, Shoreditch. Alfred’s occupation is “coach smith.”
On 24 May 1899, Ernest joined the 10th Hussars in a London recruiting office, giving his trade as “butcher”. He was 18 years old, 5ft 5½ in. tall, and weighed 131 1lbs. He had light brown hair, blue eyes and a fresh complexion, blue dots tattooed on his right forearm and a scar on his forehead. He then travelled to Canterbury to join the regiment, serving in South Africa 9 August 1900-21 September 1902, India 22 September 1902-5 February 1907, returning home to be transferred to the Army reserve 24 May 1907-23 May 1911.
When Ernest joined the Titanic on 10 April 1912 he gave his address as that of his brother Alfred: 10 Bedford Place, Southampton. Alfred and his wife Clara 36 (born Marylebone) were also to be found at 10 Bedford Place in the 1901 census when Alfred was a Carriage Builder and employer. He was a partner in the carriage building firm Hale & Pearce 1899-1927 (the firm became Hale and Sons in 1928).
Ernest boarded the Titanic as a 3rd class passenger giving his occupation as farmer, and his intended destination as Canada. He died in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified.