Ernest enlisted in the Royal Navy (Service No. SS115989) on 10th July 1914 as a Stoker Class II. From the 10th December 1914 he served as a member of the armaments crew on various ships (Service No. M11941). He was finally discharged on 28th January 1920. He was awarded the Victory and British War medals as well as the 1914/15 Star. The 1939 Register shows him living at The Fox Inn, Ousby, Penrith, Cumberland, working as a Gamekeeper. He died in 1960 in the Lancaster District Registry area. The 1939 Register also indicates he was married but no record can be found of a marriage.
His brothers also served: Frederick John Robert and Edward William Broomfield were both killed in action whilst Harry, Arthur and Walter James survived. Also serving and surviving was William Percy Norman the husband of Ernest's sister, Eva Theresa Rose.