Ellis, John William

John William Ellis was the son of Sgt. Major William and Sophia Ellis, Fern Villa, 103 Brunswick Rd. baptised 7 February 1897. His father was a band instructor who served 35 years with the Denbighshire Yeomanry, although in 1901 and 1911 he was listed in the census as a coal miner. In 1911 the family living at Daisy Hill included a brother Thomas, and sisters, Frances and Minnie. Before the war John William was a typist and shorthand clerk at John Summers.

John William Ellis is a second cousin 2x removed from Peter Kelsall via his mother Sophia Peters.

An Altar Book at St Matthew’s Parish Church, Buckley is inscribed:-

“Presented by Mr & Mrs Wm Ellis and family in memory of John Wm Ellis, 2nd Lt., R.W.F. who fell in the Great War, May 24th 1918.”

John William was announced as missing in the County Herald on June 14th, 1918:

A few days ago, official notification was received by Sergt. Major W. Ellis and Mrs. Ellis that their son, Second Lieutenant J. W. Ellis, was wounded and is missing.—A letter from a brother officer states that when last seen Second Lieutenant Ellis was making his way towards the dressing station, but his friends could not trace him and it was very probable he was taken prisoner by the enemy. In a very sympathetic letter the chaplain of the company gives the same information. Lieutenant J. W. Ellis was a typist and a shorthand clerk at Messrs. Summers and Sons Ironworks. His father, Sergt Major W Ellis, has been band instructor with the Denbighshire Yeomanry, and is with them at the present time on home service. Both he and Mrs. Ellis have the deep sympathy of the neighbourhood in their trouble and anxiety.

From Dave Vickers, Buckley at War

John William Ellis lived at 103 Brunswick Road in Buckley.

He served with “B” company 10th battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers, but was later attached to the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. He died of wounds on the 24th May 1918.

He landed in France 9th December 1917 with the 10th battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers. In late March 1918 with the German Offensive under way, 15 officers and a large proportion of the ORs were transferred to the 63rd RN Divn.

‘A raid was planned for the night of 24th/25th May, 1918: the 63rd (RN) Division, co-operating with the 12th Division on its left, was to take prisoners and obtain identification, papers and maps. As a secondary task, as much damage as possible should be done to any enemy dugouts and shelters discovered. Three raids would be carried out simultaneously by RND battalions; and the Hood was to cover the area from the railway line and all points west of the River Ancre.

The Hood’s A Company enjoyed almost complete success on their mission, but D Company came across some stiff opposition and suffered casualties. B Company, coming to the aid of D, met with similar difficulties. The enemy posts found during the raid were ingeniously concealed, and were sited only on the reverse slopes. Each post was covered by an overhanging tree surrounded by rusty old wire entangled in the grass, with a camouflaged path leading to a shelter dug into the bank. One was covered by two-inch iron girders in a cone shape. But despite this information the raid was not a complete success, and there were a number of casualties: Sub-Lieutenant Egbert Hulbert was killed; Second Lieutenant D. J. Jones and Sub-Lieutenants Percy Weeks and J. W. Ellis were wounded; Sub-Lieutenants Phillip Dann and Reginald Stephenson went missing, and there were 75 casualties in other ranks.”*

He is buried in Connaught Cemetery, Thiepval and remembered on the family grave at St. Matthews, Buckley..

*from Len Sellers’ “The Hood Battalion”

Learn more about the other soldiers on the Buckley Memorial

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