William Henry Ellis was born about 1873 in Saltney, Chester. He was recorded on the 1901 census when he was living with his wife Jane (nee McBride) at 12, Curzon Street, Saltney, Chester. They had married in 1895 at St Mark’s Church, Lache cum Saltney, Cheshire (CE35/1/17). William H., 29 was a Stationary Engine Driver, His wife Jane was 24 and their listed children were William J 5, Eva May 3 and Laura J was1. They had all been born in Saltney.
Jane died I believe, in 1906, and her death was registered in Hawarden (HAW/02A/88). I am not sure what happened to two of the children, but I believe that Laura Jane Ellis, 10, was living as an adopted daughter in the household of Robert and Margaret Roberts, at 3, Beech Grove, Crewe, Cheshire ( Civil Parish of Monks Coppenhall) by 1911. Any information on this would be appreciated.
The 1911 census shows us William Henry, 38, living at 1, Morris Ct., Commonhall Street, Chester, as a Widower. He was a Fireman at the Bone Works. He had a housekeeper, Mary Jane Walters, 28 along with her son Wilfred Holley, age 2, born in George Street, Chester, and who, apparently, William Henry had adopted.
William Henry Ellis was remarried in 1912 to Mary Jane Walters at the Holy Trinity Church, Chester (CE12/4/472).
I was able to find his Service Papers which tell us that he enlisted on the 7th August 1914, at The Castle, Chester. He was aged 39 years and his trade was ‘Engineer’. He was 5ft 4 ins tall, weighed 127 lbs and had a chest measurement of 36 inches with a 2 inch range of expansion and was considered to be fit for army service. William had provided the army with a reference from a former employer. The following letter was dated 7th August 1914.
Capner’s Boat Builders, Grove House, The Groves, Chester.
Stubbs Boating Co. Ltd.
The Bearer William Ellis has been employed by us, as Engineer on one of our River Steamers for several seasons. We have always found him a capable Driver, obliging & industrious.
A.E. Capner Manager.
His father was named as his Next of Kin – Robert Ellis of Lower Bridge Street, Chester. His wife Mary Jane was listed as having an address in Ayreshire (130 High Street, Dalmellington)
His Military History form tells us he served for 4 years and 156 days. and that he had two periods serving with the Expeditionary Force in France in 1914 and 1915. He was appointed as an (unpaid) Lance Corporal. He was awarded The Victory and the British War medals.
There is an Army Conduct sheet which tells us he blotted his copy book a few times by being absent without leave from army camps within the UK and once for actually ‘breaking out of camp’ For these offences he lost pay and for breaking out, he was given 160 hours detention as well.
William was discharged by the army as being physically unfit for service on the 9th January 1919. It seems that when he came out of the army he was a very sick man, with Emphysema and Bronchitis. He was awarded a pension of 8/3d a week to be reviewed a year later. He died on the 10th July 1919.
The records include a ‘Living Relatives Form’ that was completed in June 1922. It lists the following
Widow Mary Jane Ellis, 5, River Lane, Saltney, Cheshire.
Father John R.Ellis, 52, Chester St., Saltney
Brother Samuel Ellis, age 50, 52, Chester St., Saltney
Sister S. Watkin (possibly Treuddyn Mold).
No children were mentioned at all.
Widow, Mary Jane Ellis was awarded a pension of 20 shillings aweek from the 1st October 1919
There is an index card for William in The Flintshire Roll of Honour at The County Record Office in Hawarden. (Card Saltney F11) tells us that his Period of Service was 4 years 5 months. His card was signed by Mary Jane ELLIS on the 28th October 1919.