Earnest Ely enlisted in the U.S. Navy on August 1, 1907, at Knoxville. He was assigned to the torpedo boat USS Dale DD-4 after he had completed his preliminary sea training. He took part in the attack of our navy on Vera Cruz, Mexico. He lost his life May 31, 1917, when he was killed by a shark in Manila Bay. His body was recovered. He had received two medals. Was serving in third enlistment.
The USS Dale was on patrol at the entrance to Manila Bay 30 Jun 1917 to 31 Aug 1917 before heading to Gibraltar.
He was the son of William Barton Ely and Harriet Sharp. He married Dolly Donaldo Cournoyer in 1911 in Taunton, Massachusetts.
He is buried at Knoxville National Cemetery, Knoxville,Tennessee, B 17, 3563
- Rank: Petty Officer, Water Tender
- Date of birth: 31 December 1885
- Date of death: 31 May 1917
- County: Knox
- Hometown: Knoxville
- Service Branch: Navy
- Division/Assignment: USS Dale
- Conflict: World War I
- Burial/Memorial Location: Knoxville National Cemetery, Knoxville, Knox County, TN
- Location In Memorial: Pillar IV, Top Panel
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