Earnest was born on 17 August 1884 at Macarthur, Victoria, Australia.The family moved to Bairnsdale around 1890 where Earnest attended State School where his name appears on the World War One Honor Board. He married Florence Beulah Adelaide Smith in 1907.
He enlisted on 21 February 1916 and was appointed to the 17th Reinforcements, 7th Battalion dated 31 March 1916, at Broadmeadows. He embarked on HMAT Euripides 4 April 1916. He disembarked at Suez on 12 May 1916. From there went to the training camp and allotted to the 15th Training Battalion as reinforcements to the 59th Battalion. They disembarked from Alexandria on 21 June 1916 with the OC Troops and joined BEF per HT Ivernia. Disembarked in Marsailles, France 30 June 1916. On 1 July 1916 arrived in Etaples, France with 5th Australian Division and appointed EDP Sergeant. 12 September 1916 he reverted to the ranks and then 13 September was again appointed EDP Sergeant. On 5 October 1916 he reverts to EDP Corporal. On 27 March 1917 he reverted again to Private.
He was marched out to his unit on 4 April 1917 and taken on strength to the 60th Battalion on 6 April 1917. On 27 August he went on leave to England and visited his wife's family at Windy Nook and photographs of him were taken there. He rejoined his battalion on 10 September 1917.
He was killed in action at the battle of Polygon Wood 26 September 1917.
- Notes from Chris Baulch with research from National Archives of Australia and C.E.W. Bean, Official History of Australia in the War 1914-1918, Volume IV, The AIF in France, Angus & Robertson, 5th Edition, 1937.