THE experiences of a brave York sailor who died during World War One are featured in a new book.

Bayly’s War, by naval historian Steve Dunn, tells little-known stories from the war, turning the spotlight on many unsung heroes and individuals who lost their lives during the four-year conflict.

One such figure was 24-year-old Ernest Woodall, whose family lived at Hob Moor Terrace, York. He was one of eight children and worked as a carriage painter at the city’s railway wagon works before signing up for 12 years in the Royal Navy in 1912, as soon as he was 18.

He served on a number of ships before joining HMS Cullist as a painter 1st class in May 1917. In August he married Maud Marion Beckingham, a young widow.

Steve said Ernest’s decision to join a Q-ship was particularly brave as these vessels were heavily armed merchant ships, with concealed weaponry, which were designed to lure submarines into making surface attacks so they then had the chance to open fire and sink them.

Steve said: “His painting skills would have been crucial in helping to disguise the ship. Surviving required courage and luck.” Unfortunately Ernest’s luck ran out in February 1918 when, following a surprise attack, the ship was torpedoed and sank within minutes.

Of the total of 70 crewmen, 43 were killed, including Ernest. He is commemorated on Scarcroft School WW1 Memorial, where he was a former pupil, and also on the memorial at Dringhouses and at the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.

Bayly’s War is the sixth book by Steve Dunn who hopes to raise awareness of the exploits of many ordinary men who found themselves in extraordinary situations, showing both bravery and determination. He said: “Clearly a great deal has been written about the First World War but I wanted to do something different and include stories about people like Ernest.”