Ellis, Arthur

Arthur Ellis was born in Flint in 1896 and baptised on 9th September, 1896 at St Mary’s Parish Church, Flint. He was the fourth or fifth (he had a twin sister) of nine children to John (Jack) Ellis and Mary Ellen (Edwards).

When Arthur was a boy the Ellis family lived at 36, Earl Street, Flint, then by 1911 had settled at 72, Earl Street.

Arthur’s eldest brother, Robert Edward, was one of the most promising young men in the town, and was very highly respected. He took a most prominent part in much of the social and religious life of Flint. Amongst the many offices he held were those of secretary to the Church of England Men’s Society, assistant secretary to the local branch of Oddfellows, referee in the Chester and District Football league, etc. He was a member of the Parish Church choir, a bell ringer, a member of the Conservative Club, and a teacher of shorthand. Employed as a clerk at the United Alkali Works, Flint, he worked up to Monday 22nd December, 1910 when he had to take to his bed after an attack of pneumonia and died two days later aged just 21. The flags at the Conservative Club and Oddfellows Hall were flown at half-mast. The funeral, which took place on the Saturday afternoon, was extremely impressive. Over 800 representatives of various societies joined the procession from the house to the Welsh church, and again to the cemetery, a remarkable testimony to the popularity of the deceased. Two of the bearers were Sergeant George Robert Denton, and Lieutenant Hugh Osborne Williams.

Arthur, who was never married, was employed in the Offices of the United Alkali Company’s Works in Flint, and before the war had served with the Territorial Army. He enlisted in Flint in circa August 1914 and served in Egypt.

He died after a brief illness at Cambridge Military Hospital on 2nd July, 1916 and was buried in the Northop Road Cemetery, Flint (Grave 3, Line 7, South Side) with his sister, Sarah, who died in May, 1900, aged 3 weeks, and brother Robert Edward.

He is remembered on three war memorials: Flint Town, St Mary’s Parish Church, Flint and Oddfellows Hall, Flint. He is also commemorated on the North Wales Heroes’ Memorial Arch, Bangor. It is not known if he was awarded any medals as his medal card cannot be traced, although it is almost certain he would have been awarded the usual British War Medal and Victory Medal.

The funeral of Private Ellis took place on the aernoon of Saturday 8th July 1916 amid manifestations of deep and respectful mourning. He was exceedingly popular amongst his soldier comrades in the 2/5th Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, and in the Infantry Brigade Offices at Bedford. He died after a brief illness in a hospital at Cambridge, with his parents present, whither he had been removed for special treatment, the previous Sunday evening; and his remains were conveyed by rail to Flint on Wednesday, where they arrived in the evening. The inhabitants of the Borough never failed to honour the memory of any of its native departed soldiers, and at the funeral they were, in a large degree, sorrowing with the bereaved parents and relatives of the young soldier and though only 19 years of age had been in the army a considerable time serving his King and country faithfully.

Shortly before half-past three o’clock in the afternoon a large number of general mourners assembled at the Ellis residence in Earl Street, and as it was decided to accord the deceased full military honours a detachment of the 5th Territorials Welsh Regiment were in attendance from their military quarters of Queensferry Government Factory, together with a number of men from the Castle Headquarters, under the command of Lieutenant Brook. The massive coffin, which was covered with the Union Jack, and upon which were placed the cap and belt of the deceased, with a profusion of beautiful oral tributes, was brought from the interior of the house, whereupon the opening prayers of the burial office were read by the Reverend Canon W Llewelhyn Nicholas, MA, RD (Rector), who was accompanied by the Reverend R E Jones, MA (senior curate). The cortege was then formed, with the members of the Welsh Regiment leading as the firing party with reversed arms; then came a numerous attendance of members of the Loyal Flint Castle Lodge of Independent Order of Oddfellows (Manchester Unity), each wearing the mourning sash, and carrying sprigs of flowering thyme; and then there came the remains, borne by members of the local headquarters of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. The chief mourners followed immediately behind the remains, and the long procession afterwards comprised chiefly employees of the United Alkali Company’s various departments of the Works. The procession having arrived at the Welsh (St Catherine’s) Church, the remains were placed near the choir stalls, the organist (Mr Pryce Jones) meanwhile discoursing one of Battersill’s funeral compositions.

The interior of the church was nearly crowded with people who were paying their last tributes of respect to the deceased, and it was noticeable that included in the congregation were parents of soldiers who had been wounded recently and were lying in hospitals; Lieutenant Lionel Williams, Sergeant J A Edwards, and other soldiers who were on leave of absence from their Battalions at home. There were also present several tradespeople, and members of the Conservative Club. The Reverend Canon Nicholas (Lieutenant Colonel Chaplain) read the service, and the hymns “For ever with the Lord,” and “Brief life is here our portion,” were feelingly sung. As the remains were being conveyed from the church the organist played the “Dead March” (Saul), and the funeral procession having been re-formed, it went to the Cemetery, where in a new portion of the “hallowed acre” the remains were reverently consigned to their last resting place. The solemnity of the occasion was characterized by much impressiveness, for there, in the exhilarating breezes of the early evening, a large concourse of people had gathered to honour the departed. The Reverend R E Jones read the committal lines, after which the usual volleys were discharged over the grave, and the Last Post sounded. There yet remained another honour to be paid to the deceased, and that by the Oddfellows, whose solemn funeral ritual took place. The members of the Lodge, of which the deceased was a member, congregated round the grave, and Brother John Owen Jones, who is the present Grandmaster of the District comprising the whole of the Lodges connected with Flintshire, read the service, which was listened to by all the mourners; and as the members of the Lodge took their last leave they deposited on the coffin in the grave the sprigs of thyme, which is emblematic of one of the phases of the true brotherhood of Oddfellowship.

Of the many magnificent wreaths placed on the grave one was particularly significant: “With deepest regret” from Private William Parry, 1/5th Royal Welsh Fusiliers, Egypt.

Arthur’s mother, Mary Ellen, was born in Liverpool and died 2nd December, 1919, aged 53. At the funeral the Rector of Flint (Reverend Canon Nicholas) officiated at the house and conducted the service in St Catherine’s Church and at the graveside in the Northop Road Cemetery. In addition to the family, representatives of the Foresters, the Conservative Club, and many other prominent townspeople, attended the funeral.

Jack and Mary Ellen’s youngest child, Samuel, died on 9th October, 1923 aged 20. He was an apprenticed fitter at the United Alkali Company’s works at Flint and was afterwards transferred to Weston Point to complete his apprenticeship. He was of a studious nature, and regularly attended the evening technical classes. He was a popular playing member of the Helsby Football Club, and was a promising footballer. He came home on Friday, 5th October complaining of pains in his head and died four days later. He was a member of the Flint Castle Lodge of Oddfellows, and also a member of the Flint Conservative Club, and the flags of the latter institute were hoisted half-mast out of respect. The funeral took place on Saturday the 13th in the presence of a large gathering of relatives and friends, and he was buried with his mother.

Arthur’s father Jack was born in Hanley, Staffordshire and died on 2nd March 1932, aged 66, at his home, 72, Earl Street, and was buried with his wife and son Samuel.

Mr Ellis was educated at Flint Church School, after which he entered the employment of Messrs Muspratt Brothers and Huntley at their Chemical Works at Flint, and when the works were taken over by the United Alkali Company he was employed by them as the chief shipping clerk, continuing in that post until the works closed down. Then he entered the service of Messrs Courtaulds and for many years was a gatekeeper at the Castle Works. He was a prominent member of the Flint Conservative Club, where he served on the committee, and when he died the flag at the club was flown at half-mast as a token of respect. He was a great lover of all sport, and in his younger days he was a well-known cricketer playing for Flint and the Flintshire County teams. In the old days of the Flint Town Football Club – in the 1890s – he was a member of the committee at a time when his brother, Mr E A Ellis, then played at right half for the town team. He was also a great bowling enthusiast and a good player, being a valuable member of the Flint Conservative Club Bowling team. In 1927, he won the Ashton Cup for bowling, the competition taking place at Prestatyn. His eldest son, Mr Jack Ellis, Rhos, was a right full back for Tranmere Rovers and Wrexham, and later a member of the Wrexham Rural District Council, chairman of the Rhos Branch of the British Legion, and chairman of the Rhos Charitable Association. His second son, Mr R T Ellis, was with the Castner-Kellner Imperial Chemical Industries, and his third son, Mr Albert Ellis, was employed by Messrs Courtaulds at their Castle Works. Mr Ellis was a member of the Ancient Order of Foresters for 50 years, and a member of St Mary’s Parish Church, Flint where, at one time, he was a sidesman there.

Learn more about the other soldiers on the Flint Memorial

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