Ellis, Hugh Lodwick Maldwyn

Hugh was born on 26th July, 1888, in Porth, Glamorgan, south Wales. His father Evan Lodwick-Ellis was a minister of religion and hailed from Machynlleth in mid Wales. His mother Elizabeth Elinor Ellis (nee Lodwick) was from Gartheli, Cardiganshire. Evan and Elizabeth married in 1882 and through Evan’s work as a minister, they moved around the ministry in Wales for a number of years and by 1911 they were resident in the vicarage in Ysceifiog, Flintshire.

By the age of 13 Hugh was attending a boarding school in Ellesmere, Shropshire but by the age of 22 Hugh he seems to have shared his life between Ysceifiog where he worked as the curate for the parish under tutelage of his father and pursuing his studies a student. He obtained his BA in 1914 and his MA in 1915 in Jesus College, Oxford and according to the Welsh Gazette, 10th May 1917, he was ordained by the Bishop of Oxford in 1916.

Following the outbreak of war, Hugh had enlisted in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers initially as a private soldier but after some four months he became a Second Lieutenant in the 1st Battalion.

It is not difficult to imagine the anguished prayers of his parents at this time for his safe return. They were not, however, destined to keep even this one remaining son as Hughie, as he was known, died on 5th May, 1917, from wounds received the same day in action on the last day of the battle of Bullecourt, France. He is buried at Achiet-le-Grand Communal Cemetery Extension, Pas de Calais. (I. A. 7)

Clearly the family were no strangers to tragedy having lost three of their nine children in infancy, a son at the age of 15 whilst at boarding school and then their eldest son Hugh at the age of 28 as a soldier on the Western Front. A year after the war’s end, Hugh’s father Evan passed away on 24th February 1919, aged 56, and it does not seem too fanciful to attribute his death at least partially to a broken heart. His mother left Ysciefiog and went to live in Corris, Meirionydd, before moving on to live with her nieces in Lampeter until her death in 1937.

An article in the Church in Wales’s publication Yr Haul gave an account of Hughie’s memorial service in Ysgeifiog Church on 13th May 1917. Hughie was described as a favourite with the parishioners and a staunch patriot, full of enthusiasm for all things Welsh. The article went on to say: He feared that he would never return and had given full instructions concerning his personal possessions and for the memorial service.

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