John Ellis was the son of Joseph and Emma Ellis of Burntwood. He was born in about 1896. (Joseph Ellis had married Emma Probert in 1894).
In 1901 the family was at Mt. Pleasant. Sarah Ellis was 72. Joseph 31, was a coal merchant. Emma 34 had been born in Treuddyn and their children were John 5, and William 1.
In 1911, John age 15 was a brickworker, living as a boarder at Lloyds Hills with Edward and Mary Jones. BMD records suggest that Joseph died in 1903 age 33 and Emma in 1907 age 39. William has not been found in the 1911 census, but we know from John’s service record that William joined the RWF and was living in Brook St in 1919. Considering his age, turning 19 in 1918, William may not have served overseas during the war. By the time he was 16, William had lost both his parents and his elder brother.
John Ellis enlisted 19 March 1915 age 19, listing his address as Lloyd’s Hills, Burntwood, and occupation ironworker. He disembarked Le Havre 5 December 1915 and he was reported missing 31 July 1917 during the Third Battle of Passchendaele. He is remembered on the Menin Gate Memorial, one of 54,896 officers and men with no known grave. He is one of 10 Buckley men whose names are inscribed on the Menin Gate, the others being Edmund Catherall, Ralph Catherall, John Parry, John Wilcock, William Wilcock, Harry Williamson, William Millington, William Stanley Roberts, and Bernard Hallet Williams. Four of them, John Parry, Harry Williamson, Bernard Hallet Williams, and John Ellis died on 31 July 1917 when the RWF took part in the assault of Pilckem Ridge by the 38th (Welsh) Division).
John Ellis’s service record includes declaration of relatives signed by Mary Jones aunt, 6 Oct 1919. This identifies John’s relatives as brother William Ellis 20, “last known whereabouts member of HM Forces”, and aunts and uncles by blood: Edward Jones age 67, Lloyd’s Hills. A second declaration was signed by Mary A. Connah, 4 Nov 1919 stating “a brother of the deceased is living with me at 27 Brook St., Lane End Buckley. The brother was further identified as Pte. W. Ellis 34122, age 20. Father and mother were stated to be deceased. In the space for aunts and uncles, “Edward Jones” was scratched out. The record includes the direction for medals to be issued to William Ellis, 27 Brook St. (brother), and it was stated that there were “no effects”. Another entry in the record is a further request for his brother’s medals from Pte. W. Ellis serving in the RWF in Multan (Pakistan), 4 Aug 1923.
Another John Ellis from Mold Rd. Buckley was killed in France 16 May 1915 but only one is named on the Hawkesbury Memorial. This author originally chose to identify John Ellis who died in 1915 as the one named on the Memorial because his brother, Arthur Ellis, is also named on the Memorial. Conversely, it is logical that John Ellis who died in 1917 is the John Ellis named on the memorial plaque from St. John’s Congregational Church since Arthur Ellis is not on that list. This omission was rectified with the names added to the Memorial in 2020.